Friday, September 18, 2015

Birkirkara (Malta) - Rome

September 19, 2015 Peace and Good, It is Saturday of our first week of our definitory meeting. I arrived back in Rome this past Friday, and from Monday morning on we have been meeting. We still have one more week of meetings before I head out on the road again. So the meeting is going quite well. It fascinates me that we could talk of such places as Germany, India, Paraguay, Ghana, etc all in one meeting. Every time one of us Assistants visits the friars in some country, we write a report of what we saw. That way all of the definitory knows what is going on most of the time. This really helps us in making important decisions. What is remarkable is that after talking and talking and talking, when it is time to vote, almost every decision is by a unanimous vote. Bishop John Stowe has been visiting the Curia these past few days. He is a friar from the Mid-West who was recently ordained the ordinary of the diocese of Lexington, Kentucky. He is a fine man, and was here in Rome for the course offered by the Vatican for new bishops. By surprise, this week I will be on TV. The Italian Bishops have a TV station, and they are producing a report on the pope's visit to the States. I got a call to ask me to be one of the panelists for a couple of days during the visit. I have finished the following books: Fifty Shades of Greyhound by Harrison Scott Key This is the story of a man who decides to travel from one city to another on a Greyhound bus. It is a trip that leaves him wondering why he is doing this. It is incredibly uncomfortable, especially when one has to use the rest room on the bus. The only pauses are the rest stops along the way with few or no amenities. His friends keep asking him why he would ever think of taking a bus when it would not cost that much more to fly. City of Scoundrels: the 12 Days of Disaster that gave birth of Modern Chicago by Gary Krist This is the story of Chicago at the beginning of Prohibition. The city was governed by a mayor who was fairly corrupt, but who was also responsible for much of the beauty of the city that one can now see. He considered himself to be a cowboy and went on vacation out to the ranches out west. While he was gone, there was a transit strike, a zeppelin crashed, a race riot started and a young child was kidnapped and killed by a sex pervert. This transformed the politics of the city and state (and even had effects on the national level). It is quite an interesting story. Six Months in 1945: From World War to Cold War by Michael Dobbs This is an account of the end of World War II and the beginning of the Cold War. Like a number of accounts that I have read in these past couple of years, one is struck by the fact that our being allied with the Soviet Union was very much based upon our battle with Nazi Germany. Once that battle was over, the competing governmental systems and economic systems led almost inevitability to the Cold War. (Actually, much more probable at this point was a real war, and it is all but a miracle that it did not happen almost right after the end of the Second World War.) The action runs basically from Yalta to Potsdam, and one can see Stalin’s plans for hegemony over Eastern Europe being set in place step by step. Christmas in Thessaloniki by Arnon Grunberg This is a series of interviews with people who have been affected by the economic meltdown in Greece in these recent years. There is no question that the Greek government and people abused the system, but now they are paying a price that could be very dangerous not only to them but also to Europe for in terrible situations like they are facing, extreme politics comes to the fore. The Black Hand by Arthur Reeve A young girl is kidnapped by members of the black hand, an organized crime group among the Italian immigrant community. A detective finds a way to trap the kidnappers and stop their crime spree among the helpless poor Italians living in New York. I hope you have a good week. Shalom fr. Jude


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