Wednesday, May 31, 2006

The Book Has Reached a Higher Plane

In other words, Omis, has received word that his copy of Just War, Lasting Peace has shipped! That also means that Karen just might have one waiting for her when she returns from her Ignatian travels!

Also, Amazon is no longer saying that the book is not available!

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Watching and Reading: The Last Stand and The Italian Secretary

Besides DVC, I also saw X-Men 3: The Last Stand. I liked it, but there was a noticeable difference in style with the new director. A few holes: new characters introduced, with little to no development. A striking contrast from the second film. Especially disappointing was the "Angel" character, which seemed wasted. Besides setting up a couple of plot lines, there was no indication as to what he was about. So, too much time spent on action, not enough on character. I give it a B-.

Needing to break into a novel after end of semester, I've broke open The Italian Secretary by Caleb Carr. It's a new Sherlock Holmes mystery, and I'm quite enjoying it, at about 2/3 through. Carr is a good writer, and wrote one of my all-time favorites, The Alienist, and its sequel, The Angel of Darkness. I recommend all three. I'd give his sci-fi novel, Killing Time, a pass though. Some interesting things there, but ultimately a disappointment. Carr is a historian, so if you like books with careful attention to history, like I do, you'll enjoy his books. I even used The Alienist for my Philosophical Anthropology class a couple of years ago. The students really enjoyed it!

Why I Asked For Prayers

I've deleted my post asking prayers for the Legionaries of Christ. Perhaps it was not the most carefully written post. It was interpreted in ways it was never intended. And the responses were just plain mean, impugning my integrity, and my vocation. Because I asked for prayers.

I have my problems with some of the ways the Legionaries of Christ do things. People have problems with some of the ways Jesuits do things. I'm glad that some action was finally taken by the Vatican on Maciel's case. It probably should have happened sooner. I am glad for his victims, and my prayers are with them.

But, and maybe this makes me "too much a cleric" as a friend insinuated, I also see there are other victims in this--the Legionaries themselves, who idolize Maciel. Unless they are in complete denial (and surely some of them are), this has to be quite a blow to them and a challenge to their vocation which, presumably, was not to Maciel, but to Jesus Christ. Those good men who allow themselves to consider that the charges are true will be hurt and shaken. Is it wrong to pray for them? This was the intent of my post.

If it were suddenly discovered that Saint Ignatius was guilty of some unspeakable crime, I would be hurt, and shaken. I would wonder about the foundation of my vocation. The call is from Jesus Christ, but in a religious community the founder holds a special place. Questions about the integrity of one's founder are going to have an effect on the community.

If it were Ignatius whose integrity was in question, I would hope there would be somebody praying for me.

This is just FYI. I'm invoking my no comment prerogative on this one.

A New Kind of Mortification

Forget flagellation, says Anthony Lane, Ron Howard has given us a new means of mortification:

The Catholic Church has nothing to fear from this film. It is not just tripe. It is self-evident, spirit-lowering tripe that could not conceivably cause a single member of the flock to turn aside from the faith. Meanwhile, art historians can sleep easy once more, while fans of the book, which has finally been exposed for the pompous fraud that it is, will be shaken from their trance. In fact, the sole beneficiaries of the entire fiasco will be members of Opus Dei, some of whom practice mortification of the flesh. From now on, such penance will be simple—no lashings, no spiked cuff around the thigh. Just the price of a movie ticket, and two and a half hours of pain.

Saw it Friday, and I agree!

Read the whole New Yorker review.

Hat tip to John McGreevy at DotCommonweal.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Who Are the People in Your Neighborhood?

You just never know who's in the neighborhood:

“Ben Affleck was treated for a migraine at Mt. Auburn Hospital in Cambridge, Mass. today (Monday). He was released this afternoon, and is recuperating at home.”

Affleck is in town directing his first film, “Gone Baby Gone.” The film is an adaptation of the book by Boston Author Dennis Lehane.

The Massachusetts native is said to be renting a house in Cambridge while shooting the movie.

The hospital is just about a half mile from where I live.

Maybe we'll catch a glimpse of Jennifer Garner in the neighborhood?

A Must Read: Julie D.'s Reflection on My Life With the Saints

A beautiful reflection, based on Jim Martin's book, on Happy Catholic. Here's an excerpt:

Where the personal aspect in this book came in, however, was when Martin began writing about Ignatius of Loyola and explaining the precepts of Jesuit prayer and theology.

In an Ignatian contemplation we attempt to place ourselves in a particular scene, often from the Gospels. In the story of the Nativity, for example, Ignatius asks us to imagine ourselves with Mary and Joseph on their way to Bethlehem: "to see with the sight of the imagination the road from Nazareth to Bethlehem, considering the length and breadth, and whether the road is level or through valleys and hills; likewise looking at the place or the cave of the Nativity, how large, how small, how low, how high, and how it was prepared."

I don't know how to express what a sense of homecoming and joy I felt at reading this. It was how I had prayed from the beginning, imagining how the dew on the grass felt when Mary arose from traveling overnight on the caravan to Elizabeth's, how the sunshine would have hit both of them warmly as they embraced at the Visitation. This was right. This was me. It was cemented by Martin's telling of how he had been unable to get into using his imagination in this way.

"Isn't it all just in my head?" I asked. "Won't I just make the people in my fantasy do what I want them to do?"

"Not necessarily," he said.

I sat there, confused.

"Let me ask you something," David said. "Do you believe that God gave you your imagination?"

"Sure," I said.

"Don't you think that God could use your imaginations to draw you closer to him in prayer?"

Yes! And Amen! Though in the back of my mind I was finding it tremendously ironic that the order whose spirituality seemed to speak to me most was one that I distrusted. But that is in line with my experience also. Not only do I know much less that I usually think but God often is making a joke out of it at the same time. Which came home again just a couple of pages later.

Theologians often describe Ignatian spirituality as "incarnational." In other words, while it recognizes the transcendence of God, it is also grounded in the real-life experiences of people living out their daily lives.

It is a spirituality that reminds us that God speaks to us through prayer -- but also through our emotions, our minds, and our bodies. God can communicate through sexual intimacy, romantic love, and friendship. God can be found in Scripture and in the sacraments. God can show his love through your sister, your coworker, your spouse, your next-door neighbor, a teacher, a priest, a stranger, or a homeless person. Finding God in all things. And all people.

And through prompting a loving friend to give a book that leads someone back to the path she has wandered far from when she has lost her way. Just the way I experienced this morning and have recognized since God began calling me to him. Gosh darn it ... I think I have a Jesuit soul. For all the reasons I mentioned above, that ain't easy to admit, y'all!

For the first time in I don't know how long I was actually excited about prayer.

Go ahead, read the whole thing!

Saturday, May 27, 2006

R.I.P. Fr. Todd Reitmeyer, An Aggie Vocation

Denizens of the Catholic blogosphere have quickly become aware of the tragic death of Fr. Todd Reitmeyer, a priest of the Diocese of Sioux Falls, SD and a blogger. I couldn't help but notice that he, like Fr. Christopher Lockard of my province who died just a few weeks ago, was ordained in 2003. How do we account for such losses?

I was not surprised to learn, however, that Fr. Todd was an Aggie, an alumnus of Texas A & M University. I don't think a lot of people know how fruitful A&M has been in recent years in terms of vocations. Texas A&M, which is 25% Catholic, undoubtedly is, if not #1, in the top 10 of vocation-producing universities in America. The New Orleans province of the Jesuits, of which I'm a member, rarely goes a year without receiving at least one Aggie into our novitiate. According to A & M's Saint Mary's Catholic Center website:

We at St. Mary’s have been blessed to witness the fruits of our labors firsthand. While numerous students graduate every year from Texas A&M to pursue various careers, we are aware of ninety-four “Aggie Vocations” to the priesthood or religious life. They include: 1 bishop, 36 priests, 1 brothers, 12 sisters, 19 permanent deacons and 28 seminarians. Forty-eight are in active formation, twenty-two of those as seminarians. In the last seven years alone, fifty-eight Aggies have entered seminaries, convents or monasteries.

I pray that Fr. Todd's example will inspire even more young people to pursue priesthood and religious life. And, given both Fr. Christopher & Fr. Todd's connections with their universities, don't be surprised if you see an increase in vocations among Florida Gators as well as Aggies!

May they both rest in peace.

A Bit of Publicity, and Links For Those Due North, or Across the Pond

From Georgetown University News:

New Book Broadens Discussion of 'Just Wars'

At the periphery of the debate over America's war in Iraq have been moral questions about the proper use of deadly force, questions embodied in the ancient Christian theory of a "just war." Now, a new book -- produced by the Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown University in conjunction with Jesuit leaders -- is seeking to help bring the just-war tradition and other religious perspectives closer to the center of public debate.

Just War, Lasting Peace: What Christian Traditions Can Teach Us, published by Orbis Press, is the fruit of collaboration between Woodstock and the U.S. Jesuit Conference. With Woodstock senior fellow Dolores Leckey serving as general editor, the text draws on discussions that originated in a November 2003 symposium held during the run-up to war in Iraq. Also includedin the book are the voices of Jewish and Islamic scholars.

Among the many questions taken up are: How does just-war theory apply to the situation in Iraq? How can religion, which has been at the heart of so many wars, illuminate a new path to peace? What can Christian traditions teach us about defining a just war and constructing a lasting peace?

Catholic views on war and peace "fall along a continuum, where total pacifism forms one end of the continuum and a belief in the acceptability of war under certain conditions forms the other," according to the authors, who include the Jesuit Conference's John Kleiderer, freelance writer Paula Minaert, and Mark Mossa, S.J. "This whole range of positions is acceptable within the Church."

read the rest.

A reader from the UK suggests that I link to the book's pages there as well, so here are the links:

Amazon U.S.

Amazon U.K.

Amazon Canada

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Tourist Attraction

Overhead in Rome: "Excuse me, Signora, could you tell me which building that is in front of Father Carola?"

via The Roamin' Roman

(you may have to look carefully, but he's there!)

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Happy Birthday Father Carola

Don't let it be said that our man in Rome doesn't know how to party. Just check out the evidence from his recent birthday party.

He also found some time for the opera.

God and Theology Studies

Last week we had a day of reflection for those of us that just finished our first year of theology studies here at Weston. We spent some time reflecting, praying and sharing about a couple of questions. The first was: Where have you found God in this past year?

One of the interesting things was that it was difficult for me to say that I found God in my studies. Though I am intellectually challenged and engaged by theology, too often there is a disconnect between the God I encounter in the theology I'm reading and the God I know in my spiritual life. Nowhere was this more apparent to me than in considering some of the contemporary perspectives on Christology. The picture of Jesus Christ that so many of these writers were trying to come up with (to account for such problems as religious pluralism and/or the scandal of Christ's passion and death) often seemed so far removed from the Jesus Christ I know in my prayer life. This is especially difficult, I think, because I'm a Jesuit--the life, passion, death and resurrection of Jesus is so central to our spirituality that I've spent a lot of time with Jesus in prayer, and I have come to terms with the scandal and mystery that is part and parcel of having a relationship with Jesus Christ. It seems that many a contemporary theologian wants to be able to rationally explain everything and, as far as I am concerned, that's impossible. And I'm comfortable with that! Indeed, it is this aspect of our faith that in many ways makes it so real to me. The cross isn't supposed to make sense, it is supposed to bother us and even scandalize us. To take that away is to water down who Jesus was and who Jesus is, at least in my humble opinion.

So, often the way in which I found God in my studies this year was by way of contrast. I often felt as if I was trying to save God from theology! And, of course, there is something good in that. It forces you to examine what you do believe and what you don't believe, and why. And, that, in many ways is the purpose of theology. I do hope, however, as I go along that I can find more in theology that I can "connect" with.

Where I did find God the most this year was actually not in my studies, though. It was in and through the people that make up the many communities of faith to which I belong. First, is my Jesuit community which has been a great source of support, fraternity and fun throughout the year. I think it would be hard to get through theology if I were just a "lone ranger" returning to an empty home after class each day. Also of great importance was the community of theology students both Jesuit and otherwise here at Weston. We have such a vibrant, wonderful and diverse community, which to my great joy includes a lot of young people not far removed in age from my students at Loyola. They give a lot to me, and I, hopefully offer a little bit of wisdom and hopefully some good example to them. But, mostly, I just enjoy their company, whether we're talking about theology or something goofy. Then there is this "virtual" community which I belong to in the blogosphere, a community of friends which I know intimately, but have never met! We share a lot and support each other by sharing our experiences with each other, and our prayers. It is in all these wonderful, different, and faithful people which I am privileged to have in my life, where God has been most present to me this year. I thank God for that!

Monday, May 22, 2006

Concordia Res Parvae Crescunt

Don't be impressed, this was just the motto of my high school (means something like, "In harmony, small things grow").

Some first impressions after Latin class #1:

You don't just have to conjugate the verbs, you kinda have to conjugate the nouns too!

It seems you can put the words in whatever order you like.

Thank God I've already studied French and Spanish, or I'd really be overwhelmed!

After class, I finished my ministry of writing article (while eating pizza at Bertucci's), so one writing project down!


Sorry, you've heard little from me of late. I've been decompressing after the thrills and chills of the semester. And then there was graduation and all that (not mine). I'm also catching up on a few things. Writing a short piece on writing as ministry--final edit tomorrow morning. And, speaking of tomorrow morning, I'm beginning a five-week Latin class (of course it will probably be today by the time most of you read this). Weather's been a mite unpredictable in recent days, but at least we're past the rain and flooding of last week.

Friday, May 19, 2006


So here's what the Amazon page for the book is saying now:

Availability: This item has not yet been released. You may order it now and we will ship it to you when it arrives. Ships from and sold by

Only 5 left in stock--order soon (more on the way).

So, I guess that means ignore what it says about availability and order soon!

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Review of Just War, Lasting Peace

Chris Tessone may be the first person besides those of us that worked on the book to read it all the way through! He offers a review on his blog:

The resounding voice of this resource on war and peace is that another way is possible, that people of faith can draw on the strength that comes from their relationship to God in order to establish a more peaceful, grace-filled world. The voice of contemporary just war and pacifist adherents seems to be strongest here in the presumption of many contributors against violence, but everywhere in the volume one can find hope, as well as specific suggestions, for lasting peace for all peoples. I sincerely hope others will read this book and continue talking about and working toward that end.

I definitely recommend checking it out. The whole world's rapidly increasing level of hatred and violence is one of the most important problems we face as a church family. This book is one of those rare resources that has something challenging and enriching to say to just about everyone, and it provides some nice program aids as well.

read the whole thing.

Thanks Chris!!

Yes, Practically

Susan Rose is, like, a novice too!

Yes, it's the moment we've all been waiting for . . .

Susan Rose Francois of Musings of a Discerning Woman has been accepted to enter the "groovy sister" (a.k.a. The Sisters of Saint Joseph of Peace) novitiate this summer.

Go on over there and congratulate the girl!

(couldn't resist the picture--I love Audrey Hepburn)

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Post-Finals Meme

Now that I've completed all my semester's work, I have time to post this meme, from Karen:

Accent: Generic Northeastern, with a touch of Boston.
Chore I Hate: Mowing the lawn
Dog or Cat: Dog
Essential Electronics: Laptop Computer
Favorite Cologne(s): L’Eau Jesuite
Gold or Silver
: Silver.
Hometown: Worcester, MA
Insomnia: Rarely
Job Title: Jesuit Scholastic/Seminarian
Kids: Love ‘em, but none of my own (there’s this matter of a vow)
Living arrangements: I live with 7 other men in an old convent.
Most admirable trait: Mine? Or in general? I strive for humility, one of the most uniquely Christian virtues, and admire it in others.
Overnight hospital stays: Once, in an oxygen tent when I was about 5. Not sure what for.
Phobias: Mild fear of heights
Quote: See above—there’s two.
Religion: Roman Catholic
Siblings: Younger sister, younger brother.
Time I wake up: Depends on the day, when I have class, what time I went to bed, etc.
Unusual talent or skill: I can watch a few seconds of most movies (even ones I haven’t seen), and figure out what movie it is.
Vegetable I refuse to eat: Olives
Worst habit: Forgetting to turn the oven off.
X-rays: Yes. But the ultrasound I had a couple of weeks ago was far more interesting.
Yummy stuff I cook: Chicken Curry, Baked Ziti, Alfredo Pasta, Penne a la Vodka, Corn Chowder, Frozen Pizza, Banana bread, Oatmeal Scotchies.

Tagging Steve & Susan

Omis Islykanovice

Happy Days ahead for Omis!

It's official, In August, he'll join our company.

Be sure to congratulate him over at Higher Plane!

Thanks be to God for answering our prayers!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Another Book Update

Despite discouraging e-mails that some of you are receiving from Amazon, Just War, Lasting Peace is slowly making its way to people's mailboxes.

Another one was received today! So, hang in there . . .

And, Thanks.

Mom just called, she received hers today also!

DaVinci Code Wisdom From My Long-Lost Cousin

For those of you caught up in the craziness surrounding the DaVinci Code, there's an interesting editorial at Commonweal which cites my "long-lost cousin" with whom I'm often confused, Mark Massa, S.J.:

At a recent forum sponsored by Fordham University’s Center for Religion and Culture, Mark Massa, SJ, proposed an explanation for why people find The Da Vinci Code compelling. Catholicism, Massa argued, “represents a corporate culture which is perplexing or dismissed, or even feared, by many Americans, even by many American Catholics.” In its sacramental, hierarchical, and communal commitments, Catholicism challenges the pragmatic individualism that pervades American life. “In the story of salvation, in a very un-American sense, the community is more important than the individual,” Massa said. “We are saved as individuals in and through the community.” In Catholic teaching, the encounter with God is always a mediated experience. Yet for most Americans, the ideal encounter between self and God is an individual and unmediated one. Moreover, Massa notes, “mediation means trusting people who may be wrong.” That entails a respect, even reverence, for institutions, something many of us resist.

There is also a discussion of the editorial at DotCommonweal.

(really, there's no relation at all--he's Massa, I'm Mossa--but to further confuse things, we also share the same middle name!)

Monday, May 15, 2006

The Power of Pink Slippers

An interesting article about the outgoing president of Simmons College here in Boston:

At Simmons, tough slippers to fill

By Cristina Silva, Globe Staff | May 15, 2006

The cafeteria staff at Simmons College had begun to complain. Faculty and staff were swiping lunch trays and piling them up in their offices.

Determined to help, the college's president, Daniel S. Cheever, slipped on his pink slippers, each adorned with a huge daisy on top, which he wears when his feet hurt. He walked around the campus buildings, kindly reminding professors to return their trays.

The cafeteria crisis was soon resolved, another success for the quirky leadership Cheever has used to win over faculty, students, and alumnae in his 11 years as president. Cheever, 63, will oversee his last Simmons commencement on Saturday.

The charismatic president with the hands-on approach retires in July, and his upcoming departure is leading to anxious murmurs from professors. They wonder whether his successor, Susan C. Scrimshaw, currently dean of the School of Public Health at the University of Illinois at Chicago, will be as approachable or as successful.

Cheever said he has used the pink slippers as a way to seem more accessible.

''It's a way of symbolically saying, 'Hey, I'm a person,' " said the college administrator with the wispy silver hair, who wears traditional college presidential attire -- Brooks Brothers shirts, ties, and slacks.

During his tenure, faculty and others say, Cheever helped transform Simmons from a sinking institution into an expanding campus with a $170 million endowment and rising enrollment. Of the many colleges in Boston and Cambridge, Simmons, with its nearly 5,000 students, is the only women's college . . .

read the rest.

Ruling on the Latest Benedict

The new issue of America magazine features two excellent articles on Benedict XVI by two of my favorite theologian-types, Chris Ruddy and Dolores Leckey. Definitely worth checking out!

In "Pope and Abbot" Ruddy writes:

If Christ is the substance of Benedict’s pontificate, listening is its style. The first word of the Benedictine rule is “Listen,” and as the pope said in his installation homily, “My real program of governance is not to do my own will, not to pursue my own ideas, but to listen, together with the whole church, to the word and the will of the Lord.” The Rule extends this call in a specific way to the abbot, who is to listen first to Christ, but also to the entire community, even—or especially—to its most junior members, “for the Lord often reveals what is better to the younger.” The abbot, like all monks, must listen with “the ear of the heart,” with his deepest being, to all through whom God speaks. It is telling, as John Allen reports in The Rise of Benedict XVI, that during the papal interregnum several cardinals felt that then-Cardinal Ratzinger heard them with a depth and familiarity that surpassed that of his predecessor.
While still a cardinal, the pope commended in the book-length interview published as God and the World the centrality of listening in Benedictine life. And as pope he has continued this emphasis in his reflections on the papal office. Last May, on taking possession of the chair of the bishop of Rome—the sign of his teaching authority—he said that the pope is “not an absolute monarch whose thoughts and desires are law. On the contrary: the pope’s ministry is a guarantee of obedience to Christ and to his word. He must not proclaim his own ideas, but rather constantly bind himself and the church to obedience to God’s word.” Obedience, it should be recalled, means “listening.”

and Leckey's wonderful, more personal essay, "The Ordinary Way of Benedict" is an excellent complement to Ruddy's piece:

Every evening in my neighborhood park, the homeless of Arlington are fed from the back of a station wagon. A coalition of Christian churches enacts this work of mercy because, for whatever reasons, there are still people who remain on the streets. Across from that park is St. George’s Episcopal Church, where for 30 years a food pantry has operated. It is like a small grocery store. Five days a week, for two hours at midday, “clients” come for a supply of easily prepared food. I’ve been volunteering there once a month for the past year and a half. Last week I witnessed something new. A man collected his canned goods and then turned to my volunteer partner, who was standing by the door. He looked at us and said, “I need something else. I need a blessing.” Raima and I, two lay women (she a member of St. George’s and I a Catholic) paused. Then Raima asked him what kind of blessing he needed. “I need courage and strength,” he replied. Raima took his hands as two other clients stood perfectly still, sensing something different was at hand. I closed my eyes while prayer poured out of Raima for this imago Dei. He thanked her, he thanked me and quietly left, and we went on with our duties.
Raima and I talked about the blessing as we closed the pantry for the day. We noted that religious conversation rarely, if ever, occurs. She said she had never “blessed” anyone before. No matter. I witnessed that day caritas in action made possible by a humble openness to the Spirit. It reminded me that we all need blessings. I have a home, food, friends, meaningful work, a close and loving family, health. And yet, like that man, I too need something else. What might that be? “Love is the light—and in the end the only light...that can give us the courage needed to keep living and working,” writes Benedict (No. 39). Courage, indeed. I believe that. I also believe that St. Paul is dead right. Love never ends, and, as Benedict points out, it is all encompassing, from eros to agape.
Clearly what I am learning from Pope Benedict XVI is deeply personal. Yet the most personal encounters can and do move one from particular concrete experience to universal truth. It happens in poetry, in narrative theology and quintessentially in the Eucharist. And it happens in the witness of life, whether that be a pope’s life or that of a man without a home.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Delivered to Your Door? Or Bookstore?

Just curious:

Anybody else received their copy of the book?

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Crash and the Woman From Nowhere

Things were going pretty good when I got back from Washington yesterday. Got off the train at South Station, headed to the red line, and right away the train pulled up. Looked like I was going to have plenty of time to fulfill my duty as cook that night, and then get my homework done. As the train was headed over the Charles river, I called one of the other guys for a pick-up at Harvard Square. Got off the train, climbed the stairs out of the station, and there he was, perfect timing. Which was nice, because by now it was raining pretty good.

As we approached the left hand turn into the one-way street we live on, we had to stop and wait, because there was a white tow truck backing out of our street. As I was quietly cursing the tow truck, I heard the sound of tires sliding on wet pavement. I looked instinctively in the side view mirror to see what was happening behind us. Bam! I heard an impact. Then Bam! One more. Except I felt this one too. So, now here we are, about 100-200 yards from home standing in the rain and exchanging information with two other drivers, and waiting for the police to come. I wasn't happy, and within a few minutes it started to rain harder. But I stayed out of the car for fear that another driver might pull around the other two cars and not see our little carolla on the other side. I tried to keep our papers dry underneath my jacket, as the other Jesuit who was driving handled negotiations with the two drivers. I hope I can be forgiven for just standing there on the sidelines. After all, I'd just spent 7 hours on a train!

As we are standing there, I see a car pull up behind the third car in our row of cars. Must be a friend of one of the other drivers, come to help out, I thought. The woman gets out of the car, doesn't say a word, walks past us, hikes up her skirt a little and runs on down the sidewalk, who knows where, maybe to the dentist office on the corner. Now, we're pulled over on a busy street, and this is not a parking zone.

So, finally a police officer arrives. Asks about the fourth car. We tell him the story, and we get a little bit of a reaction out of him, but he doesn't crack a smile. Goes to his car, checks out all the info, and eventually we're free to go. Which leaves just the woman's car, sitting by itself on the side of the road, a side of the road on which no other cars are parked because nowhere on that side of the street is there a parking zone. If it weren't raining so hard, and I hadn't just been through 40 minutes of standing in it, I might have been tempted to wait there and see the woman's reaction to finding her lone car sitting there, with a nice little present from the local police department. Maybe that'll be her clue to be a little more aware of what's going on around her, because I don't think she had any clue that she was parking behind an accident scene!

For some reason it reminded me of the man who ran away from Gethsemane, leaving his clothes behind.

Despite the drama, I did manage to throw together some spaghetti in meat sauce for dinner.

Quick Book Update

I received the other copies promised me today, and Chris T. says that Amazon is promising delivery this week. So, those of you that have been waiting will, I hope, soon be satisfied!

Update to the update: Release confirmed! Chris T. finds himself with not just one, but two copies of Just War, Lasting Peace. Hopefully we'll start seeing some reviews soon! (Word is that George Weigel recently asked for a review copy)

Something in the Singing

So, I’ve been to DC and back since Monday, and I'm tired. Since Christopher lived and worked there, they decided to hold a funeral there as well. I debated whether or not to go given that it is finals week, but finally decided I should. Took the train, which allowed me to do some work. The funeral was nice, and a lot of people showed up—Jesuits, co-workers and people from the community. It was an intense and strange experience. We form such a strong bond as we move forward in formation together, that for something like this to happen is like having part of us taken away. It was good to be there with the other members of my province who live and work in Washington, and with the other Jesuits who were Christopher’s close friends and housemates. It was a time of sadness, but also of celebration. We reminisced about the time we spent working together with Christopher at the pilgrimage in Canada before World Youth Day at the martyr’s shrine in Midland. At one point in the Mass we sang together acapella Ignatius’ prayer from The Spiritual Exercises, Take Lord, Receive . . . It brought me back to a moment in the days when I was considering becoming a Jesuit. I was visiting with the Jesuits at the ordination at Spring Hill College. We gathered for Mass the day before, the Jesuits and a few guests like myself. It was in a small chapel and I remember being entranced by the sound of all these men singing together. There was something special about it, and I may have made my decision right then to be a part of that, a part of something bigger than me, something for God. Joining in song with my brother Jesuits Monday brought that memory back. And even though it was on the sad occasion of saying goodbye to one of our brothers, it still had that quality to it, it brought home to me what a privilege it is to call men like Christopher my brothers and to see displayed in those present, in the words said, the prayers prayed and the songs sung together the care for each other that, though we manage it imperfectly, still binds us because of our common commitment to the greater glory of God. May Christopher rest in peace, and may his prayers be with us in our service to God, our brotherhood, and even in our singing.

Chris attended World Youth Day last summer, and had this to say to Company magazine:

On an upper deck is Fr. Christopher Lockard, SJ, who works for the Jesuit Refugee Service in Washington, D.C., and is accompanying the Marquette group. Despite some fatigue, he is enjoying the experience, taking vacation time to participate. Students drift in and out of his orbit, sitting down for a chat and invariably leaving smiling. "It's awesome," he says, stretched out on the floor in a corner of the boat, sipping a beer, watching the German countryside roll by. "I'm all about encouraging people to improve their prayer and spiritual life," he says, and that can take many forms, including pilgrimage, perpetual adoration, and social justice work, all of the things Magis participants engaged in during their time in Europe. The key, Lockard reminds, is always to challenge the self. "There are other ways to encounter Christ," he says thoughtfully, "not the least of which is each other."

(Tomorrow, I'll tell you about what happened when I got back!)

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Father Carola and His Peeps

Yes, it's our man in Rome again. Looks like he's hanging with some crazy college kids, having a little wine, and yes, there on the table, one can see some of those disgusting Eastertime treats--Peeps!

Looks like those crazy college kids have finally tired Father Carola out (or maybe he ate too many Peeps)! Let's hope they're not staying for summer semester!

With thanks to the Roamin' Roman for all the good times.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Christmas All Year Round?

Had a visitor tonight from Santa Claus, Indiana!

How Many Priests Does It Take . . .

Another view of New Orleans Province Jesuit Joseph Carola (center) in Rome.

No, this is not Joey and his priest friends being arrested (hands against the wall!). But what are they doing? Give us your guess before learning the truth over at The Roamin' Roman.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Just War, Lasting Peace: Coming Soon

So, I thought if the publisher sends you a copy, that means the book will soon be available. But I'm not so sure. An ad for the book appeared in the recent America magazine. The Orbis site seems to indicate that the book is now available. However, Amazon changed their information today, saying the book is not yet available, and changed the publication date to May 30.

So, your guess is as good as mine when the book will be available. I think we might just have to wait until someone that ordered it receives it. If that's you, please let us know!

Welcome Resistance to the Anti-Jesuit Peanut Gallery

This helped cheer me up!

Amy Welborn posted some comments by Jesuit Father General Peter Hans Kolvenbach about Deus Caritas Est. It's a good encyclical, but anybody with a brain would have some questions about the implications of some of the things the Pope has to say! But, because it's a Jesuit asking the question, we get the usual people saying the predictable things about how horrible this all is (and of course the reason is because of how horrible the Jesuits are).

However, the thing that cheered me up, is all the other commentors who are putting the kabosh on this and naming what's really going on! Like this one:

Why is it that every time a Jesuit (other then Mitch Pacwa or the late John Hardon) speaks, a peanut gallery besmirches the whole Society of Jesus? Fr. Kolvenbach did not say anything negative about Pope Benedict, he merely stated that his ideas about the role of establishing a just society differed from those of P. Benedict.

Aaaah . . . sanity.

(Who can forget how lacking they were in outrage and righteous indignation when Fr. Neuhaus criticized the Pope).

Fun Fact and Health Update

Well, I had an ultrasound today to have a look at things because of some complaints you might remember me sharing a while back about my health. Turns out, I'm not pregnant. I also learned this fun fact: sound waves can't pass through gas. This made it impossible for the technician to get a picture of my pancreas. Anyway, at least initially it looks like everything's OK, so I guess I'll have to keep working at my papers. And maybe cut down on carbonated beverages. Hope you all are well.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Prayers Please

Dear Friends,

I just received some shocking news. Fr. Christopher Lockard, SJ of my province, who was ordained just three years ago, died some time during the night of, as yet, unknown causes. I had the privilege of working with Christopher a few times during my years as a Jesuit. Among those I enjoyed the most was the time we spent working together offering the Jesuit pilgrimage before World Youth Day in Toronto. Christopher was one of the leaders of that event. He was famous for his love of the Florida Gators and his colorful Florida shirts. Chris was from Tampa, so I also had the privilege of getting to know his family during the year I was working there, and so I feel the loss all the more knowing how they must feel. Chris was an attorney before becoming a Jesuit and his most recent work was in Washington, DC with Jesuit Refugee Services, advocating for immigration reform. It's obvious from recent events that the work of Chris and others was having some success. This is a great loss for we his brother Jesuits, for his family and for those involved in this great work.

Please keep him, his family and his brother Jesuits in your prayers. Thanks.

May he rest in peace.

Has The Priory of Sion Kidnapped Amy Welborn?

Went to Amy's site, there was nothing there!

Spooky . . .

Aaah! She's back . . . Whew!

(Thanks to Niall for the correction; we can't be getting our DVC terminology wrong now can we?)

I Wonder What Condi Thinks About Male-Only Priesthood?

For a variety of reasons, I've decided to close comments on this post. With school and with Chris' death, I'm just not up for engaging or encouraging debate now. Hope you'll understand.

Well, it’s that time of year again. The flowers are blooming. The birds are singing. And we have to listen to all the foolishness about who should or should not be honored at Catholic university commencement ceremonies.

The latest buzz is about whether Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice should receive an honorary degree from Boston College. Frankly, I don’t have a problem with it. But some of the BC faculty have made a statement opposing it, and I’m glad they did. Why? Because it makes the point that if we’re going to declare people public sinners and deny them honors, we ought to have some consistency about it (though I’m not sure we need to do it at all).

Here’s a little about the BC situation from The Globe:

Kenneth Himes, chairman of the department of theology, and the Rev. David Hollenbach, who holds the Margaret O'Brien Flatley chair in the department, titled their letter ''Condoleezza Rice Does Not Deserve a Boston College Honorary Degree," and sent it to the entire faculty inviting members to sign on. The writers said they were distressed with the university's decision to invite Rice to commencement May 22. Her selection was announced Monday.
''On the levels of both moral principle and practical moral judgment, Secretary Rice's approach to international affairs is in fundamental conflict with Boston College's commitment to the values of the Catholic and Jesuit traditions and is inconsistent with the humanistic values that inspire the university's work," the letter said. It pointed out Pope John Paul II's opposition to the war in Iraq.
''I have no objection to her coming here to speak -- I am in favor of free speech -- but I don't believe we should be honoring her with an honorary degree," Hollenbach said.

Now, all the predictable people have said all the predictable things in response. And, as far as I can tell (not that this is any surprise), it all has a lot more to do with politics than morality.

And speaking of predictable, Patrick Reilly has again made his list of naughty Catholic universities that have invited who he deems as unacceptable honorees. Here’s one:

“Sr. Elizabeth Johnson, Distinguished Professor of Theology at Fordham University, will receive an honorary degree and deliver the commencement address at St. Joseph College on May 21. Johnson has argued against the Church’s infallible teaching on the male-only priesthood, which she described as “patriarchal resistance to women’s equality.” Johnson’s feminism leads her to refer to God as ‘She Who Is.’”

I don’t expect Reilly will voice any objection to Rice (if he does, I’ll promise to eat crow). Which should lead any thinking person to the logical and absurd conclusion that being complicit in an ill-conceived unjust war that led to the death of thousands is far less morally objectionable than entertaining the possibility that women might be priests. Whatever you think about the latter, clearly the former carries much more moral weight.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Mini-Dilemma du jour

So, you know it's that time of year when I need to be focusing on schoolwork and not blogging.

But there's a piece a news today that I'd like to comment on that people are likely to get worked up about.

So, my dilemma: Should I start up a conversation that I'm really not going to be able to participate in? Just let people go at it in the combox?

Or not?

Whadya think?

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Oh, the Pain of Writing . . .

I have a feeling that Garrison Keillor didn't know what to write for his column this week, so he wrote this:

Writers, Quit Whining

May 3, 2006 | OK, let me say this once and get it off my chest and never mention it again. I have had it with writers who talk about how painful and harrowing and exhausting and almost impossible it is for them to put words on paper and how they pace a hole in the carpet, anguish writ large on their marshmallow faces, and feel lucky to have written an entire sentence or two by the end of the day.

It's the purest form of arrogance: Lest you don't notice what a brilliant artist I am, let me tell you how I agonize over my work. To which I say: Get a job. Try teaching eighth-grade English, five classes a day, 35 kids in a class, from September to June, and then tell us about suffering . . .

Nevertheless, he makes some good points.

read the rest.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Must Be Frackin' SciFi Friday . . .

Which makes me nerdier than Omis and Susan Rose.

I am nerdier than 24% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!

The Book is Real!

For those of you that have been wondering if the promised book of mine actually exists, I can now confirm that it is real! I'm holding a copy in my hand today, which arrived from the publisher express mail. They tell me there are a few complimentary copies still to come.

You should be able to order it direct from the publisher by the end of the week.

Or you can order it from Amazon right now!

One Down

So, yes, today I turned in my Christology paper. Not a work of art, but shows some serious thought and critical thinking I expect.

A couple tidbits (names removed to protect the innocent, or not so innocent):

Contemporarytheologiandude has established that for him the cross is a scandalous evil. Yet, it seems that the scandal for him is heightened by the previous scandal—the vulnerability, weakness and dependence demonstrated by Jesus in his suffering. For Contemporarytheologiandude, the “it should not be so” that arises out of Jesus’ suffering is not just that the innocent suffer needlessly but that the human being should be revealed to be characterized in large part not by “health and strength” but by weakness and vulnerability . . .

Divorced from any connection to God, and stripped of any supernatural significance, Contemporarytheologiandude is right to say that the cross is absurd and that it can’t be anything but evil. But my sense is that this is all ultimately because Contemporarytheologiandude expects too much from humans (health and strength, more than sickness and weakness) and not enough of God. God must be more than just the creative ground of being and the offerer of salvation, and Jesus must be more than just a guy who got life right and suffered for it . . .

Two papers and one take-home exam to go!

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