Monday, May 30, 2016

Rome - Seoul

May 31, 2016 The Feast of the Visitation Peace and Good, This past week I have been in South Korea visiting the friars there. Each four years we have a provincial chapter to decide how things should be run for the next years. Theirs is coming up, and before they have it, the Assistant General of the area has to do a visitation, visiting each friar and each friary to see how things are going. There is a rule, though, that an Assistant cannot visit his own province. Our Assistant for Asia if from Korea, so I am taking his place in this visitation. We have around 80 friars in this province, and it is quite stable. They are involved in parishes, social work with the elderly and the handicapped, and working with the Secular Franciscans. This mission was founded by the Italian friars, and one of them is doing the translating for me when the Korean friar cannot speak either Italian or English. I will be here until June 13th. The weather has been nice, but there is a fog (or smog) that covers Seoul each day. Some of the friars say it is dust from the deserts of China, while others claim that a good part of it is pollution. The food is as spicy as I remember, but this time I seem to be handling it a bit better. I have finished some books: Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert This is a classic that I had never read before. A woman in 19th century France marries a doctor who turns out to be totally devoted to her but terribly boring. She longs for a romantic relationship similar to those she has read about in trashy novels. She has two affairs while spending money like crazy, driving the family into bankruptcy. She is not a very likable figure, always concerned with her own needs and never with those of people around her, including her own daughter. Five Chiefs by John Paul Stevens This is an account of Justice John Paul Stevens’ and the Supreme Court upon which he served. It is a mix between homey reminiscenses and a study of various court decisions made during his time on the court. He speaks quite a bit of why he thought certain decisions were right or wrong. He is ruthless on some of his views concerning recent decisions made on the death penalty, gun control, and political financing. Overall, this is quite a good book. Mojado by R. Allen Chappell This is the story of a legal representative on the Navaho reservation who is called with two of his friends to hunt for a fugitive from Mexico who has been killing people on the reservation. The fugitive is a heartless person who is incredibly dangerous for all whom he meets. There is a lot of information about Navaho ways and attitudes. This is a very good read. The Concrete Blonde by Michael Connelly This is one of the books in the Harry Bosch series. The books are well done. The hero, Harry, is very human, but also a genius at solving crime. He has some very confusing relationships with women, largely because of his damaged background. This book deals with a civil trial. Harry has killed a man who he thought was a serial killer. He is being sued by the man’s widow for depriving her husband of his civil rights. In the meantime, a new murder has occurred after the death of this man which fits the details of the crime perfectly. This is a very good who done it. Backfire by Catherine Coulter This is the first book by Coulter that I have read. It deals with a judge who has been shot by someone who appears to be tied to a spy from China who is stealing data on electronic serveillance systems. There are a lot of twists and turns in the book. I have to admit that I will probably not read too many of her books in the future. Her plot development is not that good, her character development is poor, and her dialog is ludicrous. Someone should tell the author to try something else for a living. Have a good week. Shalom fr. Jude


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