Wednesday, August 16, 2017


August 16, 2017 Peace and Good, I has been a quiet couple of weeks here in Rome. I am at Santi Apostoli to babysit the General Curia. Most of the friars are away on vacation and someone has to be here to respond to any official request that we receive, such as a call from the Vatican. So far there have only been a couple of phone calls from various parties that needed my attention. The weather is hot, hot, hot. This is true every year in August, and most Italians try to get out of the city to go either to the shore or to the mountains. A number of restaurants and stores even close down for holidays in these weeks. We had a little excitement this past week. Some people squatted in our basilica. They had been kicked out of the building where they had been living illegally, so they chose our basilica to publicize their need. They are mostly immigrants from various countries including Romania and Bolivia. When they first arrived, there was a shouting match between the police and the organizers. Since then, they have pitched their tents in the atrium of the Basilica. Fr. Bruno, who is a real saint, has been providing them with coffee and cookies. We don't want to give them too much lest they become too comfortable there, but we want to show them sympathy and help a little. The city is supposed to be taking care of the situation, but most of the city workers are away these weeks on vacation, so everything is draggin on. I will be here in Rome another week, and then the General Definitory is going together to an island off of Croatia named Cherso in Italian where we will spend a week vacation together. I have finished some reading: Gamal Adel Nasser: The Life and Legacy of Egypt’s Second President by Charles River Editors This is a short biography of the life of Nasser, the father of Pan-Arabism and the leader of his country’s path to independence. While not truly a democratic person, for he persecuted any opposition in his own country, he nevertheless tried to modernize his country as much as he could (given the almost inate tendency in Egypt for corruption at every level of the government). He had a vicious hatred for the State of Israel, and led his country in an ill fated war against the Jewish state in 1967 that led to utter defeat in only a few days. The Roman Pantheon: the History and Legacy of Rome’s Famous Landmark by Charles River Editors I have often visited the Pantheon, and have never been all that impressed with the building. I knew that Agrippa, the friend of Augustus Caesar, began its construction, but this book told me its subsequent history. It is the largest unsupported dome built up to the Renaissance. This construction was possible due to an important Roman discovery: cement. It was completely rebuilt by the emperor Hadrian, who was a devout follower of the Greek philosophy of Pythagorus. This is why there are any number of significant structures in the building based upon numbers which the Phthagorians considered to be important. I will look upon the building with much more attention and respect in the future. The History of Ancient Rome by Garrett Fagan This is a 36 lecture series upon the history of Rome from its foundation until the reign of Constantine the Great. Garrett Fagan is a good and entertaining lecturer. He presents a clear portrait of the material without inserting his own opinion in too often. If he does voice his preferences, he backs his argument up sufficiently. The series includes lectures on periods of time, on individuals and on institutions and classes of society during the Roman days. I would highly recommend this series. Dead Irish by John Lescroat A young man in the prime of his life is murdered or commits suicide in Boston. An investigator, whose full time occupation is bartender, agrees to try to prove that this was murder to assist the widow in receiving her life insurance payment. There are a number of twists and turns in the story. This is the first book by Lescroat that I have read. It was an abridged edition, and one of the few abridged versions that I have read or listened to that showed some bad editing. Furthermore, being a priest, I did not like his treatment of a main character who is the parish priest. I found his treatment pedestrian and shallow. I will give him another try, but… The Sepoy Rebellion of 1857 by Charles River Editors This is an account of the rebellion of Indian troops in India just as the East India Company which actually controlled the country was getting ready to hand authority over to the British crown. Both sides exacted terrible punishment on the other. It was during this rebellion that the famous black hole of Calcutta affair took place. The British were not above massacuring entire villages: men, women and children. Shalom fr. Jude


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