Sunday, October 25, 2015

Rome - Bacau (Romania) - Rome

October 25, 2015 Peace and Good, Well, we finished our last visit to Romania in preparation for their provincial chapter. This was actually part two of one of the meetings we had a couple of weeks ago with the definitory and the guardians of the local communities. Like the others, this went quite well. I have been able to get caught up a bit on daily reflections and writing projects which is good because today I head out to Nairobi for a visitation. I don't know what the internet situation will be, so these blogs might be a bit irregular for the next few weeks. Don't worry - it is just that some of the places I visit will have good internet connection while others will almost definitely not. The Synod ends their meeting in Rome this morning. The overall reports in the newspapers seem positive. They are dealing with some very difficult questions, and we always have to remember that bishops in various parts of the world have very different priorities. I finished some books: Michaelangelo and the Pope’s Ceiling by Ross King Ross King is an incredible historian, especially in terms of Renaissance art. I have read a few of his books already, and this one about the painting of the Sistine Chapel in very, very good. His gives good insight to the political world and the various wars fought between the Papal States, Venice, Florence, Bologna as well as outside powers such as the French, the Holy Roman Empire and the Swiss. Michelangelo is not the nicest of people. This might have been due to some form of bipolar disease. Yet, he was an incredible genius. Never having painted in fresco, he managed to paint this masterpiece. It took him a long time (years) and it almost crushed him, but the end product was more than he could have ever hoped to produce. Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie This is an inspector Poirot book. A murder takes place on a cruise boat on the upper Nile. Poirot and a detective friend investigate. The woman was very rich and very beautiful, and she had stolen her best friend’s fiancee (who follow the couple to torment them). There are people who hated the victim’s family for financial reasons. There are a number of characters who are involved in no good but who were not involved in the murder (which by the end becomes multiple murders). There are more twists and turns that one would ever expect, but these volumes are always fun to read. Syria and the Assad Family by Charles River Editors Charles River Editors are a group of authors who graduated from MIT who have produced a series of informational books about various topics. This one deals with the rise and rule of the Assad family in Syria. It is not up to date with the ISIS situation, but it does give a good background to how this family came to power even though they belong to a religious and ethnic minority. And the Show Went On by Alan Riding This is the account of what happened to the French art scene during the Nazi occupation. It covers writers, painters, musicians, singers, newspaper writers and editors, film directors and actors, etc. It deals both with the classical art scene and the popular. One hears of artists (in the large sense of the word) who risked their lives by getting involved in the resistance (either through their art or physically taking up arms). One hears of those who just kept going as if nothing unusual had happened, or perhaps did what they had to do to survive. Then there were others who were active collaborators. The book covers the scene before, during and after the occupation. Of special interest is what was done to Jewish artists who were banned from any artistic scene and many of whom were persecuted and killed. Have a good week. Shalom fr. Jude


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