Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Chicago - Rome

July 5, 2018 Peace and Good, The chapter for St. Bonaventure Province ended a bit early on Thursday, so I had most of Friday to catch up with some paperwork before I flew out to Rome on Saturday. On Friday evening I did attend a wake service for one of our friars, fr. Fran McGann, who had passed away the week before while he was on retreat in Steubenville, Ohio. He was a later vocation, and came into the Order as a permanent deacon. He was in his later 70's when he passed away suddenly. It is quite hot in Rome, but not disasterously like it becomes in August. This coming week we have a definitory, and then the week after I head off with a couple of friars to Nairobi for an extraordinary custodial chapter. The friars there are meeting to decide whether they would like to ask the Order to become a province. I think they are ready to ask, even if the change would not necessarily take effect for a couple of years. I have done visitation in the custody twice, so I know the situation quite well. I have finished some reading: Operation Shakespeare: The True Story of and Elite International Sting by John Shiffman This is the story of one attempt to block the shipment to Iran of certain materials which had been declared out of bounds by the US government. It was a sting operation on a purchaser who worked indirectly for the Iranian government. It deals both with the law enforcement issues, but also with the larger geo-political issues. Crimson Shore by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child This volume of the Agent Prendergast series opens with a theft of a precious wine collection in a New England village. Prendergast and his ward visit the village and he agrees to take on the case. It is much more complicated than one would have first thought, dealing with modern murders, with older mass murders, and with a coven of witches who have remained hidden for centuries. These Prendergast volumes always take a degree of the suspension of credulity, but they are also always entertaining. Overthrow: America’s Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq By Stephen Kinzer This is an overview of the tendency of our country which is dedicated to liberty and democracy has been involved in plots which were anything but that. It covers the overthrow of the monarchy in Hawaii and the eventual annexation of the islands, the overthrow the government in Iran in the 50’s, the overthrow of the government in Guatemala, the assassination of the president of Vietnam, the assassination of President Allende in Chile, the invasion of Panama, Grenada and Iraq, etc. I think the most revealing thing to me is how our Secretary of State in the 50’s invaded countries and overthrew regimes based on the economic welfare of companies which had exploited the people of those countries. Cuba by Stephen Coonts This is a novel that takes place around the time of the death of Castro (fictional death, not the actual events). The head of the security department tries to take over the government which Castro wanted to go to someone else. He has missiles left over from the Cuban missile crisis, and he has filled them with biologic agents which he intends to use against the US. The book tells of the military intervention to sabotage this plot. At times the writing is a touch jingoistic, but overall it is a good story. The Unlikely Spy by Daniel Silva This was an unusual book by Silva. Most of his books are about Gabriel Allon a Mossad agent. This one is about the plot to deceive the Nazi’s during the war concerning where the D Day landings would occur. The story is filled with levels and levels of deception. It reminds me of a Ken Follett or a Jack Higgins book. It was quite good. Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz I had read this book many years ago, but I wanted to listen to it again. The narrator in this series has a soothing, kind voice. The plot of the book, that Odd (that is his name) has the ability to see and help ghosts, is well presented. The characters are lovable, and there is a fundamental goodness in what they are trying to do. It is one of those books that, in spite of a bit of severe violence, makes me feel good at the end. I hope you have a good week. Shalom fr. Jude


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