Saturday, March 12, 2016

Rome - Chicago

March 12, 2016 Peace and Good, I finished off the definitory in Rome this past week. Unlike our previous definitories which went two weeks, this one was only a week long - but oddly seemed to be two weeks worth of material. Then on Sunday I flew to Chicago. I have been here to present a workshop to the postulants of the three provinces of Our Lady of the Angels, St. Bonaventure and St. Joseph of Cupertino. There are four postulants this year, two from the East and two from California. Last month I was down in San Antonio where the other US province has their postulancy. This coming year the two postulancies will be united in Chicago, part of the overall program to unite all of the formation programs in the country. The weather at the beginning of this week was very warm, but the past couple of days it has settled back into more normal temperatures for March in Chicago. I head out this afternoon for Los Angeles where I will be attending a couple of meetings. I finished some books and short stories: Human Prehistory and the First Civilizations by Brian Fagan This is a 36 lecture series on the beginning of humanity from two and one half million years ago until the end of pre-history which actually occurred in the 20th century. Pre-history is defined as that which occurred before there was writing. The first chapters deal with the development of the human person through evolution. Then the author deals with the beginning of farming, organized social activities, religion, music, tools, weapons, etc. His final lecture draws time up to the present, but those immediately preceding deal with cultures in India, China, Southeast Asia, Europe, the Americas, etc. France 1940 by Philip Nord This is supposed to be a description of what led up to the horrendous defeat of the French in a very short time during World War II. It turns into a bit of apologia for the French, again and again saying that things were not all that organized, but neither were they for others such as the Soviets, the low countries, England and America. He blames the fall of the Third Republic on bad generals, who were the same villains who caused the downfall of the republic and the rise of Petain as a dictator who intended to refound the moral fabric of French society. There is a lot of information, but as said above, the authors continuous refrain that the French weren’t any worse than others becomes a bit monotonous. The Confessor by Daniel Silva I enjoy Silva’s books. They deal with Gabriel Allon, an Israeli Mossad agent who, when not working on a case, is engaged in art restoration. This is the volume where he meets his future wife in Venice. It is also the volume where he saves the life of the pope and forms a close relationship with him and his personal secretary. The book revolves around a secret organization in the Church which was involved in the holocaust and the hiding of Nazi war criminals after the war. The story is not entirely anti-Catholic, and in fact is quite positive at points. It is strongly against certain elements in the Church which view religion in a triumphalistic manner and which would use any means to revise “the glory of the papacy.” Dead Aim by Thomas Perry This is quite a good murder mystery. A man walking the beach in Santa Barbara sees a woman try to kill herself. He saves her, but she ends up dead a couple of days later. He is bothered by this and hires a private investigator to find out about her and her choice to kill herself. It turns out that she was connected to a survivalist camp that had branched out into murder. The private investigator is killed, and the man survives a number of murder attempts. He is only able to save himself by becoming the hunter instead of the hunted. Prohibition: Thirteen Years that Changed America by Edward Behr Prohibition was a vast social experiment to better society in the States. It turned out to be a horrendous failure, actually leading to an explosion of crime and corruption. The author gives a history of the temperance movement and how it eventually won and had an admendment to the constitution outlaw the production and sale of alcoholic drinks. He tells the story of some famous criminals and some honest people who just thought prohibition was a terrible idea. He then speaks of how it ended. The movement to end it ironically was financed by many of the people who pushed for it, men like Henry Ford. The rich realized that they were paying much higher taxes because the alcohol taxes were no longer being collected. He then asks questions about our country’s drug war and what lessons we could learn from prohibition about it. Hope you have a good week. Shalom fr. Jude


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