Monday, May 13, 2013

Canterbury - London - Rome

May 13, 2013 Peace and Good, I hope you are all well. I finished up my time in Great Britain and headed back to Rome this past Monday. I have been there all this past week, catching up on some of the projects that I have been doing. This is especially true in terms of the daily reflections. I am about a month ahead now in the reflections, but that quickly get used up and it can be difficult to do them when I am on the road. The problem is not the editing because I can do that just about anywhere. It is the question of finding a place quiet enough to tape the reflections. I had a good meeting with one of the provincials who was in Rome for a meeting. We will have another series of meeting at the end of the month and the beginning of June in Rome and Assisi with the presidents of the conferences (the zones into which the order is divided). Tomorrow I head back to England and Ireland for another series of meeting with the friars there. They are getting ready for their chapter in September. That will be when they pass from being a delegation (a jurisdiction that is guided by the provincial from a distance) to being a custody (an autonomous jurisdiction but still under the general guidance of the provincial). I think that they are ready for this move, especially considering how well they are doing with vocations. I finished a few books this week: Empire of Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the rise and fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe by S.C. Gwynne This is a history of the Comanche tribe in the southwest of the United States and northern Mexico. Originally they were a poor tribe without much prospect for the future. Then came the arrival of horses from the Spanish conquistators. That changed everything. They became the lords of the high plains, controlling a huge empire. They were not truly administrators for they had no central organization. Rather, they were raiding bands that hunted the buffalo and harassed their enemies. The history then tells the story of how they clashed with the Texans and eventually were defeated and ended up on reservations. They ending chapters talk about Quana Parker, a half Comanche and half white (his mother was a captive) who ruled the tribe at the beginning of the twentieth century and became the first chief of the entire tribe. The book is well written, but there is a lot of violence in the story. The Future Church: How Ten Trends are Revolutionizing the Catholic Church by John Allen This is a truly remarkable book that talks about the current trends that can be seen in the Church today. He especially emphasizes the growth of the Church in the southern hemisphere: South America, Africa and Asia. He speaks about how this will affect the Church over the next century. The Church will become more traditional in terms of doctrine and moral conduct, while it will become more liberal in terms of economic justice. I strongly recommend this book for anyone who wants to get a reasoned evaluation of where the Church is today and where it is heading. The author has been a long time reporter on the Vatican, and his information is well documented, well reasoned, and not inflammatory. He is not out to make any particular point, he simply wants to describe what is happening today. Nathaniel Hawthorne by George Edward Woodberry This is a decent biography of the author of the Scarlet Letter and the House of Seven Gables. Hawthorne is a very interesting character, but there is something sad about him. He was all but a recluse in the years following his college education. He married a woman who was homebound with migraine headaches (which disappeared around the time they married). He was not exactly a prolific writer. He wrote almost exclusively about a narrow band of land which he inhabited. His characters tend to be wracked with guild. He ended up as a counsel in Liverpool, England under the presidency of Franklin Pierce, a friend of his. He did not too long after he returned from his service there and his time spent travelling in France and Italy. One honestly feels that there is something missing in Hawthorne’s personality, and unlike some other authors, he did not seem to find it in his trade. Have a good week. Shalom fr. Jude


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