Sunday, December 20, 2015


December 21, 2015 The First Day of Winter Peace and Good, I have been in Rome all this past week at our General Definitory meeting. This time we have a whole series of reports about the canonical visits of the definitors to provinces that are preparing for their chapters. I gave my report on Kenya which I visited in October and November. It was very upbeat for things are going quite well there. We will continue to meet today and tomorrow (and possibly Wednesday if we don't finish things by then) for eight other reports from various jurisdictions. Then we will discuss whether we need to take any particular action upon the situation in those jurisdictions. The weather this past week has been quite cold, although not especially rainy. We continue to see heightened security everywhere we go. I was told that the major basilicas (St. Mary Major, the Lateran and St. Paul's outside the Walls) have all established metal detectors at their main entrances. I will be heading out of Rome on Christmas Day, first of all heading to London where I will overnight and then on to Ellicott City on Boxing Day. I have to fly this way because it is a frequent flyer ticket and you have to take what they give you. I have been listening to a Great Courses lecture on folk tales. The lecturer gives insight on how to determine whether a story was passed down orally or whether it was written down at a very early stage. This is very helpful for my scripture studies, for many of the stories in the Old and New Testament were probably oral for quite some time because someone actually copied them down. It gives me something to think about. I have finished the following: The Affair of the Corridor Express by Victor Whitechurch A young boy is summoned from his boarding school to meet his father in London. Along the way, he is accompanied by a teacher, but still mysteriously disappears on the train. Even though the train is fully searched and it had not stopped along the way, the boy is not found. A detective must sort out the clues to find out how the boy was taken and where he is being held. Now We Are Fine by David Sedaris This is a story both about a family vacation at the beach (extended family) and the death of one of their siblings by suicide. The suicide victim had always been a troubled soul. She had divorced herself from much of her family, and so her passing left more questions than answers. There is a bitter sweet edge to the story. The Bible: A Biography by Karen Armstrong This is an overview of the production of the Bible and its influence in the centuries since it was first produced. Overall the information given is good, but oddly the author spends a lot of time on the Kabbalah and its various interpretations, more than one would expect in a treatment that is supposed to cover over 3,000 years of material. Likewise, the treatment of Jewish interpretation seems to be much better documented than that of Christian interpretation. The book is worth reading, but it has its weaknesses. Final Analysis by Catherine Crier A psychologist is murdered in the guest house of his residence. His wife, with whom he is on the worst of relations, is the prime suspect. The three sons of the marriage testify at the trail, two against their mother and one in her favor. It turns out that the psychologist all but raped his wife when she came to him for counseling when she was a young woman. She appears to have a borderline personality. This family is the poster child case for dysfunctionality. The wife is tried for the murder and found guilty. Dream Acres by Steven Rinella This is a great short story of a shack that five men buy in Alaska. It is on a beautiful bay, but it really is not much more than a large shack with a large yard filled with tons of junk that had been dumped there for decades. Yet, there was something about the wilderness that surrounded it and the ability to fish in the bay and catch large fish that then became supper that made it all worthwhile. Have a good week and Merry Christmas! Shalom fr. Jude


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