Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Boston - San Jose, Costa Rica - San Francisco - Sydney, Australia - Melbourne, Australia

December 21, 2017 Peace and Good, It has been a very busy couple of weeks, both in terms of travel and in terms of cultural background. After the Minister General and I dropped fr. Donald off into the care of fr. James, the provincial, we continued on to Costa Rica for the inaugural chapter of a new custody. This custody was formed by the merger of a delegation in Costa Rica and a custody in Honduras. We have been working on this union for seven years, and it is a joy that we finally saw it occur. We had the official union on December 12th, the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The day after that celebration, I flew up to San Francisco. This was just a stopping off point, for I was then flying out to Australia. It took me eight hours of flight to get to San Francisco, so I decided to stay the night in a hotel and then fly out the next day rather than trying to fly the whole way that same night. This was a good choice, for the flight from San Francisco to Australia was 14 hours in itself. I visited the friars in Kellyville and Warrawong which are near Sydney, and yesterday I flew south (only about an hour flight) to visit our friars in the Melbourne area (Springvale and Dingley). We have about 15 friars here, including two from the States, one from the Philippines, and one from India. This is a delegation of the Chicago Province (St. Bonaventure), and the visit is a preparation for the provincial chapter in Chicago which will take place right after Easter. I will be heading back to Rome on the evening of the 23rd, arriving in Rome around noon on the 24th. I have finished some reading: The Book of Jubilees by R.H Charles I have often heard about the Book of Jubilees, but I had never read it. This is a book that did not make it into the Bible, but which had a considerable influence in its days (just before the birth of Jesus). It is a type of rewriting of the Book of Genesis with the elements of the story favored by the intellectual background of the author’s school of thought emphasized. It is longer than I expected, but well worth going through at least once. William Wallace by Charles River Editors This is a short life story of the famous Scottsman who was portraayed by Mel Gibson in the film Braveheart. It is a sad story of rebellions, betrayals (often by his own Scotts), the relentless pressure exerted by King Edward I (known as Edward Longshanks). It was a brutal time, and both side used war techniques that would be considered cruel and outragerous today. How the Dog became the Dog: From Wolves to our Best Friends by Mark Derr This is a book that speaks about how dogs evolved from wolves (and possibly with a bit of jackal and/or fox). One can see in the book that the author is head over heals in love with dogs, and sometimes his retoric becomes a bit overly canine centered. He talks about how packs of wolves probably travelled along with packs of the first humans and that somehow they began to interact (maybe even learning hunting techniques from each other). He bemoans the limited breeding of dogs today because it forces attributes on dogs and lead to genectic abnormalities. It is not a bad bood, but not a great one either. Supreme Power: Franklin Roosevelt and the Supreme Court by Jeff Shesol This is the account of how FDR had a running battle with the Supreme Court which outlawed a number of his New Deal laws and organizations. The court was rather old, and five of the justices were quite conservative. FDR came up with the proposal to add members to the court, up to fifteen. This took various forms, either adding a member for each justice over 70 (and later over 75) or just adding members, etc. The Congress which was overwhelmingly Democratic after the 1936 election nevertheless turned down his proposal. In spite of this, the proposal seems to have frightened some members of the court who then changed their stance on a number of controversial cases to be in favor of FDR’s position. In a sense, he lost the battle but won the war. Thirty Million Gallons Under the Sea by Antonia Juhasz This is the account of a dive near the oil well platform that blew up in the Gulf of Mexico a few years ago and what the scientists found on the bottom of the gulf. The oil that had been dumped there was largely still there. The micro-organisms which ate the oil at first seem to have eaten only parts of it, leaving some of the most toxic elements still there. Furthermore, those elements are entering the food chain which could cause serious health problems in the future. The Night of the Long Knives by Charles River Editors Shortly after Hitler took power in Germany, he turned on the SA led by a brutal thug named Ernst Rohm. The industrialists who financed the Nazis and the leaders of the army demanded that Hitler do something about the SA who were street thugs and who were causing chaos in the land. Hitler along with Goering and Himmler led a purge against the SA in what has long been called the night of the long knives in which many of the SA leaders (along with other enemies of Hitler) were killed. I hope you have a good week as you prepare for Christmas. Shalom fr. Jude


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