Saturday, May 21, 2016


May 22, 2016 Happy Trinity Sunday I have been in Rome this past two weeks. The first week was spent on catching up after jet lag and working on my writing (I managed to complete a few articles) and daily reflections. This past week we have been meeting in definitory. This one went quite long, for there were a number of situations that needed our attention. We finished late afternoon yesterday, and today I head out for Seoul, South Korea, to do a visitation of our province there. The weather here in Rome has been slowly improving. The last couple of days have been quite sunny, if not a bit cool. On Friday evening, we had a nice cook out on the Terrazzo with over 20 of our OFM friar brothers from their General Curia. One of our friars, an Argentinian, prepared the meat. I thought that we Americans ate a lot of meat, but compared to the Argentinians, we look like vegetarians. Yesterday and today our basilica has been busy with the community from Sri Lanka that is hosted here. About 30 years ago, the cardinal vicar of Rome asked each Basilica in Rome to host one of these ex-patriot communities, and we have been hosting the Sri Lankans ever since. They are a Sinhalese group which uses the Western Rite. I have finished some books and short stories: The Fall of the Ottomans by Eugene Rogan This is a masterful narrative as it describes the Ottoman Empire at the beginning of the 20th century. Long known as the sick man of Europe, the empire lost more and more territory in Africa and the Balkan peninsula. Then, with the beginning of World War I, the Turks decided to side with Germany and Austria. This was a disastrous mistake. The book deals with the massacre of the Armenians and Assyrian Christians which could and should be described as a holocaust. The deals with the battles in Arabia, Palestine and Iraq, as well as the disastrous attempt to conquer the Dardanelles and Bosporus at Gallipoli. The book is a good read and very informative. The King’s Speech: How one man saved the British Monarchy by Mark Logue This book is not exactly the text for the movie by the same name. It is a biography about the speech therapist who treated King George VI. This is written by a grandson of the therapist, so it has the adulatory style of a relative of a subject of a biography. It is largely written from the diaries and letters that the grandson found, so many of the comments are a bit trite. Nevertheless, it is a decent book. The Early Works of John Dos Passos I have often seen the name of this author who wrote at the beginning of the 20th century. I wanted to read one of his works to see what his writing was all about. The commentators on this author speak of how he wrote from the point of view of the common man, especially about their experiences during World War I. His writing seems dated to me, and it is often difficult to understand because he insists on having his characters speak in the accent of their birth places (or at least what he thinks their accent was). Not my favorite author! Three Empires on the Nile by Dominic Green This is a book that speaks of how Great Britain slowly pushed the Ottomans out of Egypt and subverted the local Egyptian government to make Egypt their protectorate. It deals with the rising Muslim movement which fought against the colonial powers. One of the major events was the rising of the Mahdi in the Sudan and the death of General Gordon. It is interesting to see how the colonizing movement often used other events in the world as opportunities to seize power in Africa and Asia. King Arthur: History and Legend by Dorsey Armstrong This was one of the great courses. I cannot believe that the professor found enough material for 24 lectures of one-half hour each, but she did it (and most of the material was well worth listening to). She begins with the historic roots of the King Arthur legend, and then covers its treatment throughout the 1500 years from the time he lived until today. She deals with his treatment in Cornish, Welsh, French (Brittany), German, Scandinavian, Italian, etc literature. She even covers modern treatments such as films and video games. She is a very informative lecturer. Have a good week. Shalom fr. Jude


Post a Comment