Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Getting Ready for the New Season

September 23, 2009

Peace and Good,

Even though I'm not teaching in grad school any more, September marks a new beginning for me. During the summer, I give retreats and conferences but there are never any parish missions. With the arrival of Labor Day, the schedule changes and I am back on the road again. Right now I am in San Diego. This week I am filling in for a pastor for all the priests int he diocese are gathering this week for a convocation. I have morning Mass and then I offered confessions. Typically, the first day I was in the confessional for a half hour. The last two days I have been there for an hour.

I am still working on a translation project for my publisher. It is going well. I just finished a major section of the work and only need to edit it before I send it in.

I finished a good book this past week. It is Prisoner of the Vatican by David Mertzer. It deals with the period of time surrounding the First Vatican Council with the declaration of papal infallibility and the period after during which the Italians took over the Papal States. Having lived in Italy for seven years, it was easy to understand some of the political machinations. It seems as if everyone was lying, everyone was seeing the situation only from his point of view. Each side established non-negotiable positions and stubbornly clinged to them (even at the danger of igniting a war).

I was worried that the author would be very prejudiced. Given the other books that he wrote, he could easily have been extremely anti-clerical. Yet, as he dealt with the subject, he showed himself to be rather balanced. I was very pleased.

It was fascinating to see how the pope could not understand how the Church could function without having political power. Yet, it is almost as if the Church is better off without it. There is a freedom when you are not associated with this power or that. You can challenge anyone who needs it when you can't be accused of siding with one or the other. This is a great difficulty for national Churches because they so identify with the ones in power that sometimes you wonder if they are speaking God's message or the state's message.

God bless and

fr. Jude


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