Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Rome - Bacau, Romania - Rome

May 15, 2019 Peace and Good, I am back in Rome after heading over to Romania for a long weekend. The Missionary Sisters of Assisi were celebrating their 100th anniversary of their presence in Romania and I went over as a representative of the Minister General to participate. I used to give many retreats and conferences to the sisters in the early years of their rebirth after communism. During communism they were not allowed to live openly as sisters, but many continued to keep contact with their fellow sisters and even invite young women to join them in the underground network they had set up. The weather in Romania has not yet warmed up significantly. Every spring they have a low pressure front that stalls over the country til toward the end of May. Then suddenly, it passes from a rainy and overcast time to summertime in one day. I will be going up to Assisi this Saturday for our General Chapter. That day officially marks the end of my term. We will have to see whether I continue on in Rome or head somewhere else. I am ready for whatever happens. I finished some books: Letters from Berlin: A Story of War, Survival and the Redeeming Power of Love and Friendship by Margarete Dos and Kerstin Lieff This is a very interesting volume that tells part of the life story of a young woman who grew up in Berlin just before and during the war years (World War II). Her foster father was a functionary in the Navy Department. She tells of the destruction of her city and country, of her imprisonment in a Soviet work camp after the war, and of her eventual liberation and her attempt to start a new life. It is so rare to hear the story told from the other side, and I especially appreciated this book to give me a greater perspective on what German civilians must have gone through during the war and in its aftermath. St. Paul: the Apostle We Love to Hate by Karen Armstrong Karen Armstrong is a current theologian, and this treatment of St. Paul is a brief but good overview of his life and theology. She has one or two theories that I think are totally unproven (e.g. such as the idea that Apollos was the leader of the revels in Corinth, something that has no documentary evidence), but for the most part her volume is balanced. She especially tries to show that Paul was not a misogynist, but that rather many of the statements that can be interpreted in that light were either interpolations (a theory of which I am always wary because that allows one to take out anything with which one is uncomfortable) or the product of the later Church (such as in Ephesians or Colossians, something with which I am in agreement). Edible History of Humanity by Tom Standage This is an overview of the growth and consumption of food throughout the centuries. It gives good technical knowledge as well as folk information. It weighs the pluses and minuses of various strategies (e.g. only eating thing grown nearby, the green revolution, etc.). It is similar to Mark Kurlansky’s books on Cod, Salt and Paper in which the author takes one topic and views it from a number of different angles. I would recommend this book. Conclave by Robert Harris I have read a number of Harris’ books, and this is one of his best. It deals with the death of an unnamed Pope (but clearly based on Pope Francis) and the election of his successor. The story is told from the point of view of the Dean of Cardinals who is running the conclave. The facts seems to be essentially accurate. Much of the drama is the subtle fighting and campaigning among the various lobbies: the traditionalists, the Italians, the Africans, the ambitious, etc. The ending is a bit strange, but overall it is well written with a good insight to some of the spiritual matters. The Titanic: the History and Legacy of the World’s Most Famous Ship from 1907 to Today by Charles River Editors This is an extensive treatment of the construction, sailing, and sinking of the Titanic as well as some of the aftermath (the survivors, the ships that assisted and those that did not, the hearings in the US and Great Britain which examined the cause of the disaster and established some remedies for future voyages. It even brings in the search for the wreck of the ship in the last century. The True Flag: Theodore Roosevelt, Mark Twain and the Birth of the American Empire by Stephen Kinzer This is an overview of the rise of the movement in the US to expand our horizons to foreign colonies favored by Theodore Roosevelt and others, and fought by some such as Mark Twain. This is especially seen in the annexation of the Hawaiian Islands after a coup which overthrew the legitimate government, and after the conquest of Cuba and the Philippines. It deals with the horrible war fought in the latter in which the independence fighters were crushed with cruel and clearly illegal means. The author presents some ideas and incidents which could clearly be applied to our modern situation. Have a good week. Shalom fr. Jude

Monday, May 6, 2019

Montreal - Rome

May 6, 2019 Peace and Good, My visit to Montreal concluded last Wednesday, and I flew back to Rome. These days have been the usual slow recovery from jet lag. It seems it takes longer and longer to get over it. The weather here is actually quite cool. I think a cold front must have passed through yesterday. It was the windiest that I ever remember it here. This week I will be home until Friday when I head out to Romania for the weekend. The Franciscan Missionary Sisters of Assisi are celebrating their 100th anniversary there, and I know quite a few of them. Whenever I went over to Romania to teach in our seminary, I would give workshops to the sisters on the weekends. I hope to get ahead in some writing projects and taping for the daily reflections these days since our General Chapter will start on May 18th. Please keep us all in your prayers. I will be preaching again each day at the chapter so I have to work on those homilies as well. I finished some reading: Van Gogh: A Power Seething by Julian Bell This is a rather short biography of the painting genius. It is one that leaves one troubled, as the painter himself was. While we cannot identify the exact cause of his mental difficulties, it is painful to read of his struggle to find himself, and of his gradual loss of himself due to his difficulties. Bethlehem: The History and Legacy of the Birthplace of Jesus by Charles River Editors This is one of those short books on an individual topic produced by Charles River Editors. This, however, was one of the first that I have read that should have been edited much better. There are factual errors in a number of places that left me disturbed. Furthermore, the material presented has an uneven feeling, too much information about non-significant things and too little about relatively important topics. Hamilton: the Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda This book was not about the man Hamilton. It is the story of the rap presentation of Hamilton on Broadway. It comes across almost as a personal memoir, and it gives a good account of the creation of the play and its phenomenal success. It deals with the major actors and writers. It speaks of the importance of this play for African Americans and other minorities. A History of Some of London’s Most Famous Landmarks by Charles River Editors This is a quick overview of some of the most famous sites in London, including the Westminster Abbey, the London Tower Bridge, the London Tower, the Buckingham Palace, etc. The book gives a bit too much detail and it can become tedious at times. Mademoiselle Boleyn by Robin Maxwell This is a fictional account of Anne Boleyn while she served at the court of the French queen. She was only a young girl when she travelled there with her sister who eventually became the mistress of the French King Francis. The story tells of how the two sisters were used unmercifully by their calculating father who only considered them to be economic possibilities. Anne slowly grows in knowledge of the ways of the world and of court love, lessons that would be used in her courting of King Henry VIII. Beyond the Ice Limit by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child This is a follow up volume to an earlier story called the Ice Limit. A group of experts travel to a site off the coast of Chile in the hopes of destroying a meteor at the bottom of the sea which turned out to be the seed of an extraterrestrial creature that had spawned and endangered the earth. Preston and Child have a remarkable partnership in authoring these books. Some are detective novels (Agent Prendergast), others are more science fiction. They all are well worth reading. I think you can see above how ecclectic my reading habits are. I have to confess that a lot of what I read nowadays is either listening to books checked out for free from the public library or reading those books which are free or discounted by Kindle. Have a good week. Shalom fr. Jude

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Rome - Montreal

April 28, 2019 Peace and Good, After spending a bit of time in Rome, I travelled to Montreal on Easter Monday. The purpose of the trip is two fold. First of all, there was a meeting of the members of the English speaking federation in preparation for our upcoming General Chapter (May 28-June 27). We especially had to go over our revised General Statues. That took a couple of days. We then discussed a number of other matters, especially questions dealing with formation (both initial and continuing). Then on Friday, I began the canonical visitation of our houses in Montreal is preparation for their upcoming Custodial Chapter (this coming September). I already visited the houses in the States (three of them in Clifton, NJ; Bridgeport, CT, and South Boston, MA). Now I am visiting the four sites in Montreal. There is a lot of rain and flooding in the area right near the rivers, much as there has been along the Mississippi and its tributaries this Spring. Their Spring here begins a few weeks later than most of the States. I fly out on Wednesday to return to Rome for 10 days. I finished some reading: Hidden: Reilly Steel Series by Casey Hill This is the third of a series concerning Reilly Steel, and American forensic expert who is part of a team working in Dublin on strange cases. This volume is about children who disappear. When two of them are found dead, they are seen to have angel wings tattooed on their backs. The story turns out to be not quite what one would have expected. Spain: the Center of the World 1519-1682 by Robert Goodwin This is a very good overview of the world of Spain in its golden age. The author speaks of the monarchy, its court, the artists, authors, poets, etc. Goodwin does an incredibly good job at drawing a full picture of what was happening in Spain and in the other domains under its control. I would highly recommend this volume. Fr. Charles Coughlin: the Life of the Controversial Catholic Priest who Revolutionized Radio by Charles River Editors This is the story of a very controversial radio priest who pitched his message for social justice during the depression. The early years, he highly supported FDR, but eventually his politics changed. He began to espouse anti-Semitic messages, and was eventually silenced by Church authorities. Russia House by John le Carre I listened to this volume as a dramatic presentation of this volume. A mysterious woman comes up to a book vender at a book fair in Moscow, asking him to pass on a manuscript written by a Russian arms expert which outlines the arms capability of the Soviet Union. British and American spies conspire with the help of a boozy low life who has to act as the intermediary in this process. Typical of le Carre’s books, there are very few heroes in the story, all the characters are very fallible. America’s Most Notorious Natural Disasters by Charles River Editors This is a compilation of accounts of the Great Chicago Fire, the Johnstown Flood, the 1900 Galveston Hurricane, the San Francisco Earthquake and Fire, the 1928 Okeechobee Hurricane and Hurricane Katrina. Each of the accounts includes objective information about the disaster along with multiple firsthand accounts of those who survived the crisis. Operation Paperclip: the History of the Secret Program to Bring Nazi Scientists to America During and After World War II by Charles River Editors At the end of the Second World War, the US and the Soviets (as well as to a lesser degree the British and French) set up networks to capture information on Nazi scientific programs that might assist them in their own research (e.g. nuclear, aircraft, missile, etc.). This gives an account of how the US sought paperwork, scientific equipment and most of all experts whom they could carry back to the States. Have a good week. Shalom fr. Jude

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Rome

April 18, 2019 Happy Holy Thursday I have been in Rome since the definitory returned from Croatia this past week. The weather is slowly becomming nicer. Spring has begun. There have been no meetings this week, so I am using the time to get caught up with daily reflections and articles for the Messenger Magazine in Padua. This coming Monday, Easter Monday, I will be flying out to Montreal for a meeting with the Provincials of our federation (US, Canada, Australia and Great Britain/Ireland). Then I will be doing a canonical visitation to the three friaries in Montreal. I have finished some reading: Operation Whisper: the Capture of Soviet Spies Morris and Lona Cohen by Barnes Carr This is the story of the careers of two Soviet spies during World War II and after. Their lives and careers began in the US, but after near discovery, they fled and reestablished their spying network in Great Britain. They were only slowly ferreted out by the British secret services and tried and jailed for their activities. United States and the Middle East: 1914-9/11 by Salim Yaqub This is a series of 24 lectures on the history of the rapport of the US to the Middle East from the time of World War I up to the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. The professor gives a balanced evaluation of the attitudes and policies both of the US and of their Middle Eastern partners/enemies. In a time of hysterical rantings by politicians, this is a good, well researched presentation. El Escorial: the History and Legacy of Spain’s Most Famous Royal Site by Charles River Editors This is one of the most famous of the palaces of the Spanish royal family, built under the reign of Philip II. It was an incredibly extensive palace (and monastery complex). IT is a magnificent example of Baroque architecture. While the religious part of the complex are intricately ornamented, the living quarters were much simpler, marking the religious tendencies of the king. Emperors of Rome by Garrett Fagan This is a very informative and entertaining series of 24 lectures by the Teaching Company on the history of the Roman emperors from the time of the Caesars up to the time of Constantine. The professor is Irish and peppers his lectures with gems of his Irish humor. He gives enough detail both historically and also socially to get a good picture of what was happening. He is not afraid to give his own opinion on controversies, but he clearly states that this is what it is, and he back up his arguments with good reasoning. It would highly recommend this series. Erwin Rommel and Heinz Guderian: The Lives and Career’s of Nazi Germany’s Legendary Tank Commanders by Charles River Editors This is one of those short biographies of two of the most important army commanders for Germany during the Second World War. Both were involved in the blitzkrieg attacks on Poland and France. Guderian then was sent off into the Soviet Union while Rommel ended up fighting with the Afrikacorp in North Africa where he obtained a reputation for incredible daring. The careers of both figures were fated for failure due to the interventions of Hitler in the fighting order and the lack of supplies reaching the North African front. Eventually Rommel was implicated for some involvement in the plot to kill Hitler and was forced to commit suicide Tiwanaku and Puma Punka: the History and Legacy of South America’s Most Famous Ancient Holy Site by Charles River Editors This is the story of an archaeological ruin outside of La Paz in Bolivia, near the shore of Lake Titicaca. It is from a civilization that preceded the Inca, and the purpose of the site seems to have been a cross between the Vatican and Disneyland. The walls of the structure were constantly being moved from one place to another. This does not seem to have been an administrative center but rather some sort of site for a mystery religion in which people descended into the depths of a structure to be reborn into the light. Have a Blessed Easter Shalom fr. Jude

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Rome - Vepric, Croatia

April 9, 2019 Peace and Good, These past days have been quite unusual for the entire General Definitory travelled to a Marian shrine on the coast in Croatia, Vepric. The first week of this trip was our annual retreat. I gave daily reflections for the friars, and the rest of the retreat was quiet time. On Saturday we visited Medjugorie. This was my first visit to the site. I was impressed by the faith of the people, but I cannot say that I was deeply moved by it. The one Marian shrine that I truely felt moved was Guadalupe in Mexico. We have also visited the friars and the cities of Split and Sibenik. They are both on the coast. Split is beautiful and well developed for tourism. It has an ancient town center that in part dates back to the end of the 3rd century A.D. (for it contains parts of a palace of the emperor Diocletian). Sibenik is a lovely little town, but it has not yet been fully prepared for tourism (although they are working to that end). This week we have a couple of days of definitory, our last one. Then Friday we will be heading back to Rome. We have hit a bit of rain here, but it has always been in times that we were travelling or meeting, so we still had plenty of time to enjoy the beautiful surroundings. The place where we are staying is right near the coast, which is backed up with mountains. I finished some reading: A Thousand Hills: Rwanda’s Rebirth and the Man Who Dreamed It by Stephen Kinzer This is the story of how the massacre of the Tutsi by the Hutu in Rwanda happened. It gives information about the colonial past which led to many of the tensions between the tribes. It gives an accurate picture of the months leading up to the disaster. There is also the story of Paul Kagame, who led the rebellion against the government that had sponsored the murder, and is now the autocratic president of the country. Kinzer does not defend all of Kagame’s policies, but he does put them in perspective (speaking extensively about the need for stability and healing). It then deals with the question of how the present government is working on reconciliation along with economic development. Kinzer is very much in favor of Kagame’s policies without being blinded to the difficulties. Dance between Flames: Berlin Between the Wars by Anton Gill This is the story of what went on in Berlin between the two world wars. The city became a byword for decadence. Yet, there were great cultural developments in painting, writing, music, drama, etc. Gill speaks about the political developments and the terrible economic disaster (with incredible rates of inflation) in the Weimar Republic. Gill paints a picture in which one can almost understand why so many rejected the decadence while choosing the disastrous alternative of autocratic government under the Nazi’s. He also speaks of the beginning of the persecution of the Jews and leftist by the Nazi’s. The Opium Wars by Charles River Editors In the 19th century Great Britain suffered a terrible deficit with China. They bought silk and tea and ceramics from China, but the Chinese bought very little from Great Britain. This meant that silver was being sent to China and not returning. The British tried to address this issue by shipping opium to China to addict the population there. They fought two wars with China in order to force it to open up to trade with the West, but especially to ship their drugs to them. There is no way that these horrible wars could be rationalized. Thermopylae: The Battle that Changed the World by Paul Cartledge The story of the 300 Spartan troops has been told over and over again throughout history. The blocked the Persian invasion of possibly up to a million troops for far longer than anyone would have expected at the narrow pass of Thermopylae. This book speaks of the cultures of Greece and Persia, of the reasons for the invasion, and of the significance (in their times and up to the present times) of this battle which technically was a defeat but which was truly a victory of spirit. Wicked Bugs by Amy Stewart This clever little book speaks of how certain insects cause so much pain and damage to people and vegetation. It speaks of the specific insect, how it works, where it was found, which bugs it is related to, etc. It gives a lot of information in a very short format. Gaudete et Esultate by Pope Francis This apostolic exhortation by the Holy Father speaks of everyday holiness. The pope tries to get people to avoid excesses of theory or practice. It speaks of how to apply the Beatitudes to everyday life. It speaks of how to avoid sin through penitential practices. This pope writes in a style that is very approachable, understandable. It would highly recommend it to anyone. Have a good week. Shalom fr. Jude

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Buffalo - Rome

March 30, 2019 Peace and Good, I am back in Rome after having travelled to Buffalo for the funeral of one of our friars, fr. Canice Connors. The trip back was long, especially since I had to travel from Buffalo to Baltimore where I had an eight hour layover, and then to London where there was another five hour layover. All went well, but a trip like that takes a lot of wear and care on the body. It was good to be in Buffalo for a few days and to be able to see relatives. I don't get to see them often because I am always on the road in other parts of the world. I have been working on a translation from Italian to English for some documents for our General Chapter. I finished the work this morning, so tomorrow I will dedicate to doing some daily reflections for the podcast site. Monday I and the other definitors are heading out to Croatia for a couple of weeks: for our annual retreat and a meeting of our definitory. The weather has warmed up nicely. I was able to walk outside today without a sweater. Spring is here. I finished some reading: The Six Day War and the Yom Kippur War by Charles River Editors This is a double book which deals first with the six day war when the Israelis defeated Egypt, Jordan and Syria, and then the war which occurred a decade later in which Israel again won when Egypt invaded it, but just barely. Even though the treatment is not all that long, it nevertheless gives good information about the politics, the actual fighting and the consequences of choices made by the various countries and their leaders. Munich, 1938 by David Faber This has to be one of the books that has most disgusted me in recent years. It is not the book itself that bothered me, but rather the story it tells. It gives the account of how Chamberlain, the British prime minister, caved in to Hitler’s demands to allow the Anschluss uniting Germany with Austria and also the invasion of Czechoslovakia, taking the Sudetenland. The British wanted to maintain peace, and treated the Czechs with incredible disdain while they claimed to be honest brokers in the process. One can clearly see the dangers of appeasement which inevitably led to the Second World War. 1920: The Year that made the Decade Roar by Eric Burns Over these past few years, I have read a series of books that speak about a particular year. All of them are interesting, but this particular book is one of the best. It speaks about all sorts of dimensions of what was going on in America right after World War I. It speaks of the corruption of the Harding administration. It presents information on the women’s right movement, especially to get the vote. It also speaks about the prohibition which began that year. Burns presents tons of information in a very pleasant way. The Fall of Constantinople by Captivating History This is a short history of the city of Constantinople (today Istanbul). It also deals with its decline after its sacking by the crusaders of the 4th crusade in which the crusaders attacked fellow Christians and not the Muslims who they had vowed to conquer. In the latter years, the city was a small enclave without any hinterland from which it could draw forces. It was finally conquered when the Islamic forces brought many cannons with them which could breach the considerable walls of its fortress. Six Armies in Normandy by John Keegan This is a history of the invasion of Normandy from the inception of its planning up to the conquest of Paris. John Keegan is a famous military historian, and again this book is an example of his skill. He grew up in one of the staging areas for the invasion, and the first chapter is filled with remembrances of the interaction of his family with the soldiers about to go into battle. The six armies include the Brits, the Americans, the Canadians, the Poles, the Germans and the French. The book is filled with interesting detail. The author is British, and at times he tries to defend Montgomery a bit too much, but overall he is fair in his treatment of the topic. The Lord by Romano Guardini This is a book that I have long wanted to read for I have seen its author’s name time and time again. The opportunity finally came and I am glad I delved into it. It is a long treatment of the person of Jesus and his mission. The use of Sacred Scripture is extensive but not always critical. It served as good spiritual reading, but not really as a source I would quote for a study paper. Princes at War by Deborah Cadbury This is the story of King George VI and his three brothers, one of whom was King Edward VIII who resigned to marry the woman he loved. This book treats George VI rather well, speaking of how a shy and stuttering (he was the subject of the film the King’s Speech) man and who stepped up to his responsibilities. Edward, on the other hand, comes across as vain and petty, controlled by his wife. This story spans from just before World War II through to the 1950’s. Have a good week. Shalom fr. Jude

Friday, March 22, 2019

Rome - London - Buffalo

March 22, 2019 Peace and Good, I went to London this past weekend to do a visitation of two of our friars from Malta who are working there as chaplains for the sick. The Maltese government sends a number of sick Maltese citizens there each year because Malta, being a small island, cannot provide the modern medical techniques that are available in London. (Sometimes up to a hundred a month). They have also hired two of our friars to serve as Catholic chaplains for those patients. The friars in London do a great job in this. When I did a visitation in Malta, people on the street would tell me this. Since Malta is preparing for a chapter this coming September, I visited the two friars to see how they are doing. Then on Sunday I heard that one of our ex-provincials, fr. Canice Connors, passed away in Buffalo, NY. I checked with our Vicar General, and travelled to Buffalo on Tuesday to attend the funeral today. fr. Canice was a provincial, rector of a seminary, head of two treatment institutes for priests and religious who had serious phychological problems, etc. I knew him a bit, and he was a good, good man. I will be in Buffalo until this coming Tuesday when I will head back to Rome. I finished some reading: The Hittites and the Lydians: the History and Legacy of Ancient Anatolia’s Most Influential Civilizations by Charles River Editors This is actually a combination of two books about peoples who settled in Asia Minor, today’s Turkey. Each is well done. The Hittites actually conquered a rather large empire in that area, although they disappeared from the scene around the time of Abraham or just before. The Lydians are famous as the first people to produce an actual currency (coins) and not just weights of precious metals. The Letter to the Galatians: the Bible in Medieval Tradition by Ian Christopher Levy This is a combination of commentaries which speak about the Letter to the Galatians. It is interesting to note how at times they are so similar to what we know today, and how at times they are so dissimilar. It was a bit of work getting through it, but well worth it. Easter Rising by Hourly History This is a quick history of the rebellion of the Irish against the British during the First World War. Hourly History produces a series of books similar to those of Charles River Editors, but a bit more folksy. The book speaks of how the rebellion failed, but nevertheless the brutal suppression after its failure led to an independence movement which led to freedom. War of 1812: A History from Beginning to End by Hourly History This is the story of what some call the second war of independence. It was a war that the Americans did not want to fight, but which they almost backed into due to the treatment of American sailors by the British during their war with Napoleon. It was a war without many concrete results, but it did give some self-confidence to the newly formed US because now they felt they did not have to bow down to every threat that they faced. Empire by Michelle Pacelle and Dan Cashman This is an interesting, short book about the sale of the Empire State building. It is an involved story, with the building in unknown hands for quite a while. It also includes appearances by Donald Trump and Leona Helmsley, two of the great moguls of real estate in New York. There is family intrigue in a Japanese family of a very dishonest businessman and his sons and his illegitimate daughter (the last of whom tried to steal the building for herself). Frank Lloyd Wright by Charles River Editors When Frank Lloyd Wright was starting out, the great architect, he said that he had to choose between a hypocritical humility and arrogance, and so he chose the latter. The book speaks of his life and his career. It is open on his incredibly messy relationship with his three wives. It speaks of the buildings he designed in the US and Japan and why he made particular choices. I come from Buffalo which has some of his buildings, so I was interested in him. Have a good week. Shalom fr. Jude

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Tagaytay, Philippines - Rome

March 13, 2019 Peace and Good, I am back in Rome for a three day definitory meeting. I flew into Rome from the Philippines on Sunday afternoon. It is a long, long journey. It is ten hours from Manila to Doha, a four hour layover, and then another six hours from there to Rome. There is a seven hour difference in time between Manila and Rome, so I have a bit of jet lag (but it is not as bad as it sometimes is). Tagaytay was mercifully temperate throughout the week I spent there. Philippines tends to be hot and humid, but Tagaytay is on the side of a mountain so it is cooler than Manila. Actually, the mountain is an active vulcano, but it is quiet right now (for the past century or so). I had a week of conferences with the novices and postulants. It went very, very well. It is great to see the enthusiasm of the young men when you begin to unpack the meaning of the Gospels. By the end of the week, you could see their minds reaching out to try to apply some of the lessons to other texts, which is great. In a week, you can present only so much, but if you can make them hungry to learn more, then you have done your job. I will be in Rome until Saturday, attending some more meetings and hopefully catching up on some projects. Then I am off to London for a few days. I finished some reading: Poets and Saints: Eternal Insight, extravagant love. Ordinary People by Jamie George I enjoyed this book. It is a bit of a travelogue of a family’s trip to Europe along with a pilgrimage testimony. The author is a Protestant minister, and he visits a number of sites that are connected with Protestantism, but he also visits Catholic sites. One of those sites was Assisi where he met one of our American friars who is now serving in Turkey, Andrew. He was very kind in his treatment. This is a light volume, but it has some very good spiritual insights. Hitler’s War by Harry Turtledove When I got this book, I thought it would be about World War II. In a way, it was, but with a couple of details slightly changed. It ask what would have happened if Franco had not become the leader of the Spanish fascists, if the Munich accord on Czechoslovakia had not taken place, etc. It gives the account from the point of view of the soldiers of the various countries. It was not half bad. To Kingdom Come: An Epic Saga of Survival in the War over Germany by Robert Mrazek These are personal stories of the participants in the war against Germany by the US 8th Air Force stationed in Great Britain. It gives a good account of who they were, of their background, and of their missions. A number of them were shot down, and it gives accounts of those who were able to find their way to freedom through the activities of the French underground. It is a really good story, giving the good and the bad of what happened. Spiritual Direction: Wisdom for the Long Walk of Faith by Henri Nouwen This short book was not directly written by Nouwen, but it is a collection of essays and talks that he had given over the years on the topic of spiritual direction. I found the book excellent, with insights that I know I will carry with me for a long time. Two ideas in particular struck me – the constant topic that God loves each one of us, a reality that does not need to be earned, and the idea that each of us, as Christians, is called to downward mobility. We are not called to success by the definition of the world, but to surrender and emptying out of oneself. French Indochina by Charles River Editors This is one of the short account from Charles River Editors, this one dealing with the limited topic of how the French came to Indochina, what they did while they were there, and how they were expelled from ii in the 1950’s. As always, the account was informative and worth reading. Vikings by Hourly History This is a short account of the history of the Vikings from the period in which they developed writing (and by definition passed from the prehistoric to the historic era). I found that the author gave a revisionist point of view in terms of the raids that the Vikings exacted upon Great Britain and Ireland (implying that they were revenge raids, but without a lot of outside proof). The end of the account is the development of the nation states of Scandinavia. There is also a good section on the age of exploration (Iceland, Greenland, and the coast of North America). Have a good week. Shalom fr. Jude

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Ellicott City, MD - Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam - Tagaytay, Philippines

March 4, 2019 Peace and Good, I spent a few days in Ellicott City. On Monday morning, I was able to video some presentations for our development office on the Sacred Scriptures. Then in the evening I met with a Scripture group. It was a nice day, reminding me of when I was able to teach and do parish missions. Tuesday evening I flew out to Ho Chi Minh. I arrived on Thursday morning. I was there for the dedication of a new postulancy house. The building is three stories high with 24 rooms (with bathrooms). It was well, well done. The celebration was a good moment to mark the growth of the jurisdiction. Sunday afternoon I flew into Manila and drove up to our novitiate of Tagaytay. This is built on the side of an active vulcano which has not erupted for a century and a half. We have our international novitiate here (friars from the Philippines, Vietnam and Sri Lanka). I will be here until Saturday giving a workshop on the Gospels. I have finished some reading: John Quincy Adams by Harlow Giles Unger This was one topic about which I had never read, and the book is very good. It presents the 6th president of the US as an academic and diplomat who was poorly suited for the presidency, but who nevertheless became a success by being a fly in the ointment when it came to the question of slavery. He was one of the lawyers who defended the blacks from Africa on the Amistead. He is not presented as an especially loveable character (much like his father), but the author is able to give a rounded picture of who he was and what he did. The Portrait of an Artist by Daniel Silva Gabriel Allon, the agent from the Mossad, is able to track down and eliminate a danger from the Islamic movement. This one was recruited by the CIA, but then turned against them to begin a war of terror. The twist in the story is that he is able to do all this with the help of the daughter of a rich Saudi whom he assassinated a number of years before, for she had turned against the extremists whom her father had been financing. As always with Daniel Silva’s books, the story is well told. The Great and Holy War: How World War I became a Religious Crusade by Philip Jenkins This book deals with the religious aspect of World War I. There was the tendency during the war to see it as a hold Crusade against the godless forces of the enemy. It also deals with the religious consequences of the war around the world such as the rise of Islamic movement (first a nationalist movement and later more than that), the persecution of religious minorities in the Middle East, the rise of Zionism, and the explosion of various Christian/Pentecostal movements throughout the continent of Africa. The General vs. the President by H.W. Brands This is the story of the interaction of General McArthur and President Truman. McArthur is a larger than life figure who had an enormous ego. He could easily have become a dictator if he had had the possibility, for he only lightly respected the democratic structures of our country. Truman had to find a way to fight the Korean War without starting World War III. He was not helped in this by the general, whom he eventually had to fire. This book gives a good account of the relationship between the two. Vikings by Hourly History This is a short presentation on the history of the Vikings. The author tries to be very sympathetic to them, rationalizing some of their outrages throughout history. The book starts in the late early Christian era, and goes up to the age of exploration in Iceland and Greenland, the conquests in Ireland, England and Normandy, and the rise of the modern nation states of Norway, Denmark and Sweden. Tulip Mania: The History and Legacy of the World’s First Speculative Bubble during the Dutch Golden Age by Charles River Editors The title more or less gives away what the book is all about. During the Golden Age of Holland, when its vessels were travelling throughout the world and it was making fabulous profits on trade, people began to buy tulip bulbs (which were a recent introduction from Turkey) for fabulous amounts of money. This was a classic speculative bubble, and it crashed suddenly, leading to the downfall of many fortunes. Have a good week. Shalom fr. Jude

Monday, February 25, 2019

Rome - Ellicott City

February 25, 2019 Peace and Good, Last week was a full week of definitory meetings. We went from Monday to Friday. As we approach our General Chater in mid May, we are addressing more and more attention to that and less to the day to day running of the Order. That is not a bad thing, but it is changing the tempo of our meetings a bit. On Saturday I flew to BAltimore, but there was terrible weather in London so our flight from Rome to London was delayed enough that I missed the flight to Baltimore. BA put me up for the night, but I am disappointed in their service in these weeks. This is the second time in a month that they have messed up my flight, and both times the response from their help lines and their personnel has been less that I would expect. I will be flying out to Vietnam tomorrow for the dedication of our new postulancy. They have a lot of vocations, and the only thing holding it back was a lack of space. Then on Sunday I will fly to Manila to give a week workshop to the novices there. I finished some reading: Medical Rounds for Everyone: Grand Rounds Cases by Roy Benaroch This is a Teaching Company series. This deals with 24 different cases that a doctor has to diagnose and treat. The presenter is extremely clear both in his presentation and in the process of reasoning that led to a diagnosis. I found this series very informative, both in detail and in the realization of how difficult it can be for a doctor to find the right diagnosis at times. It brought me to a greater respect for my own doctors. The Cold Moon by Jeffrey Deaver This is one of the Lincoln Rhyme series. This one deals with a man who appears to be a mass murderer. There is a side story of police corruption. As with the other volumes, this paraplegic detective and his team are brilliant in unraveling the clues which other police often miss. What is so good about the series is that these come across as real people with their normal personality flaws. I would recommend this book and the others in the series. The Mahdi: the History of the Prophesized Figure Muslims believe will redeem Islam and Bring about the End Times by Charles River Editors This is a very short presentation on the idea of the Mahdi, the promised one who would lead Islam in the right path. This is especially important among the Shia Muslims, much less so among the Sunni. It has often led to figures claiming to be the Mahdi, such as the one in the Sudan who killed General Gordon in the 19th century. Today, among ISIS and among some Iranian clerics, one hears some of these ideas expressed again. Cut and Run by Ridley Pearson An agent with the witness protection agency falls in love with a woman who is on the run from drug bosses for whom she worked. The list of all people in protection along with their addresses is endangered when the scientist who worked up the encoding system disappears and some of the people on the list end up dead. The book is not exactly a great work, but it has a certain suspense and a lot of action. The Other Queen by Philippa Gregory This is a well done account of the captivity of Queen Mary of Scotland under Queen Elizabeth of England. Elizabeth has her farmed out to Lord Shrewsbery and his wife Bess. This couple has only recently been married. Bess is a simple upbringing, and more a businesswoman than a wife. She is also a secret spy of Cecil, the advisor and spy master of the queen. The story is told in three voices, Queen Mary, Lord Shrewsberry who secretly falls in love with Mary, and Bess who seethes on the sideline at the disloyalty of her husband and the loss of finances in the upkeep of the queen. This fictional history is well done. I hope you have a good week. Shalom fr. Jude

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Ellicott City - Rome

February 18, 2019 Peace and Good, I finished off my visit to the States with several days at Ellicott City. I had a meeting with the definitory of my province which went very well. I was also able to film some presentations for our Development Office (which also has committed itself to producing materials for evangelization). I have been collaborating with them for quite a while with the daily scripture reflections, but now we have reached out into film as well. The trip back to Rome was less eventful than the trip out from Rome. I will be here for a week for a General Definitory meeting. Then on Saturday I will be heading back to the States. The weather here in Rome is cool but quite pleasant. It is not like the weather brought by the Polar Vortex in the States. I finished some reading: The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan This is an account of the dust bowl during the 1930’s. This area of the country probably should never have been opened up to the plow. Its soil was such that if there were a drought, it would be carried aloft in any storm, creating massive dust storms. Yet, the huge price of wheat during World War I guaranteed that it would be used for agriculture. When the drought came, coupled with the Great Depression, it left this entire area desolate with people fleeing to find work and even food. This account gives much eye witness evidence of the suffering, and this is an excellent account of this horrendous time. The Mysterious Etruscans by Steven Tuck In spite of the fact that their civilization was quite advanced, and they were found in a part of the world that is not all remote (central Italy), the Etruscans are not all that well known. This Great Courses presentation speaks of the archeological evidence for them, their beliefs, their rise as a confederation of city states and their downfall under the power of the ever aggressive Rome, etc. It also speaks of many of the cultural artifacts that still show their influence on Italy and the world. Forgotten Patriots by Edwin Burrows The greatest number of those who died during the American Revolutionary world were the prisoners of the British, both in various on land centers and on prison ships. This book goes into great detail on the history of the treatment of prisoners by the British and by the rebel forces during the war. Much of what was done would be considered to be war crimes today, but was classified as almost normal treatment in those days, especially when the Americans were classified as rebels against the king who could have been executed for treason. The book also covers the reasons why tributes to the prisoners were so late in coming and so inadequate, somuchso that most Americans do not even know the extent of what happened in those years. Revelations of Divine Love by Julian of Norwich This is a narrative of the revelations received by the 14th century English mystic Julian of Norwich. She is famous for having said that all will be well, and all will be well. Her revelation is very, very positive in nature, but is enormously difficult to follow. I had heard about Julian, and I wanted to read something that she herself produced. The endeavor was worth the effort, but I don’t intend to read much more of what she wrote. It will stick to what was written about her. Bugsy Siegel: the life and legacy of the notorious gangster who helped develop Murder, Inc. and the Las Vegas Strip by Charles River Editors The title pretty much says what this small book from Charles River Editors is all about. It gives the biography of this mobster from his birth in the Jewish ghettoes of New York to his execution in Las Vegas, a city whose development he largely pioneered with the construction with mob funds of the casino the Flamingo. The History of Espionage by Velas Liulevicius This is a teaching company course on the history of espionage. I had previously listened to a course on Eastern Europe by this same professor. Both that first course and this one were filled with information and very interesting. This course is not a spy thriller, but rather a history from ancient times to today, including a lesson on how spy craft is treated in modern literature and film. It is quite good. Have a good week. Shalom fr. Jude

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Clifton, NJ - Bridgeport, CT - Boston, MA - Ellicott City, MD - Staten Island, NY

February 10, 2019 Peace and Good, I finished off the visitation to the three friaries of the Montreal Custody of the Polish friars in Clifton, Bridgeport and Boston. There are two friars in each of these sites. They are mostly Polish parishes. All three of them are past their heyday for the Polish immigration has leveled off. If young Polish workers want to find work nowaday, they tend to go to Great Britain or Germany (for it is much easier for them to transfer their work benefits to their homeland and to visit family during the holidays). The friars are doing good work, but one has to wonder about the long term health of these communities. This past week I had my annual 50,000 mile check up - GP, cardiologist, dermatologist, hearing, sight and dentist. All of the appointments went very well. This was just a normal thing, but it is important given all the travel that I do all the time. Saturday I attended the funeral of fr. Philip Blaine, one of our friars who died this past week. He had been a missionary in Brazil for a number of years, and also an Assistant General for the missions. His main ministry was teaching spirituality and giving spiritual guidance. I will be in Ellicott City for a few more days, and then it is back to Rome. I finished some reading: Surrender, New York by Caleb Carr Years ago I read the first book by this author, The Alienist. It has been spun off into a TV series recently. This, as far as I know it, is his second and only other book. It is set in upstate New York, and it involves a series of deaths of what the book calls “throw away children.” This volumes is every bit as good as the author’s previous book. It involves detective, forensic work based on a theory in which one tries not to defend one’s theory but rather develop a theory from the evidence found. The hero is not an easy person, and there are a set of sometimes loveable, sometimes odd people around him. It is a very good read. 1177 B. C.: The Year that Civilization Collapsed by Eric Cline This book chronicles the extensive international network of trade and diplomacy before the period around 1177 B.C. Then, after that time, there was a period of confusion and retrenchment. What caused it? There have been various theories: famine, civil war, invasion by the sea peoples, earthquake, etc. It is possible that all of these played a part in the downfall of civilization at that time. The author purposes that there was a systems failure. It might have been sparked by one calamity, but then snowballed as one part of the system after another failed, leading to a period that could be called a dark age. The book is good, but filled with theories that cannot be proved. The Brandenburg Gate by Charles River Editors This is a short history of the famous Brandenburg Gate in Berlin. It was originally part of a wall built more for income purposes (to collect the tolls and taxes on imported goods) than for defensive purposes. It became a symbol of the rise of Prussia. During the Nazi era, it was used as a gathering point for various rallies. After the war, its pockmarked surface was a sign of the division between East and West Berlin. Finally, after the war, it was a symbol of the reunification of the city and the country. Peoples and Cultures of the World by Edward Fischer This is a study in anthropology on various societies throughout the world, including tribes and clans in Venezuela, the South Pacific, etc. It is one of the Teaching Company courses. It has a lot of good information, but I cannot say that it really came together all that well. Marie Curie by Charles River Editors This is a very good treatment of the Polish scientist Marie Curie who with her husband discovered radium and polonium. She was frequently discounted for being a woman scientist, but she proved herself to be a talented scholar all the same. She lived a simple life with her husband until his accidental death. She won the Nobel prize for her work, but even then was not allowed to speak to the assembled body. She eventually died from the effects of the radiation of the elements that she discovered. The Pious Ones by Joseph Berger This is an overview of the Hasidic movement in America (and somewhat in Israel). This movement was largely wiped out in Europe during World War II, but given the large number of children that Hasids tend to have, they now number a large percentage of Jews in the world. They do not interact very well with modern society in terms of assimilation, yet they tend to be rather successful in terms of business activities. They also have serious difficulty dealing with government regulations, not infrequently ending up on the wrong side of the law in questions of finance and government housing regulations. Have a good week. Shalom fr. Jude

Monday, January 28, 2019

Rome - Ellicott City - Clifton, NJ

January 28, 2019 Peace and Good, I hope you are all well. This past week in Rome was more like being in London in winter than Rome. It has been cold and rainy. I managed to get a number of projects done throughout the week, which means that I can now apply myself to my coming travel and maybe even write an article or two for the Messenger magazine. I am caught up to the April article, but I must always be a bit ahead on those lest something come up and I not be able to write them at the last minute. I was able to get my visa to Vietnam for my trip there at the end of February. I will go there for the dedication of a new seminary building, and then travel to Manila to give a workshop to our novices in Tagaytay (an hour outside of Manila). At the last minute, British Airways cancelled my flight to Baltimore and rebooked me to Dulles. That is about an hour away from BWI, and I had a rental car already arranged in Baltimore. What a mess! They say they will reimburse me for my travel expenses from Dulles to BWI, but I am not all that sure of that given my experiences of trying to navigate the beaurocracy of big airlines. I got into Ellicott City on Saturday evening, and drove yesterday to Clifton, NJ where I am beginning a visitation of a few friaries (here, Bridgeport, Ct and Boston). These are friaries that are under the authority of our Montreal custody which is made up of Polish friars who serve the needs of Polish immigrants. Then starting next Sunday I will be down in Ellicott City for about ten days for some appointments and meetings. I finished some reading: Corsets and Codpieces by Karen Bowman This book deals with the history of the more absurd varieties of fashion throughout the ages. Some of them were just strange (high, high headpieces, very large codpieces on men, etc.). Others were actually dangerous for they put those who wore them in danger due to their inconvenience or their flammability. This is not exactly a scientific study – it is a more entertaining light piece of investigation. Dark Justice by Jack Higgins An assassin tries to kill the president of the US. HE is tied to a Russian oligarch who is using trying to sow confusion among the powers of the West. A secret organization under the direct authority of the Prime Minister is able to sort out the complicated plot and to enact revenge on the plotting parties. The Hoover Dam by Charles River Editors This tells the story of construction of the great dam in Nevada on the Colorado River that produced Lake Mead. This dam was an enormous project built during the depression. It is doubtful that it would ever pass environment regulations today, but it produced a source for water and hydro-power that allowed the great growth of the southwest, especially the Los Angeles area. The English Spy by Daniel Silva A British ex-princess is murdered by a bomb placed on her vacation boat. It turns out that an ex-IRA bomber has arranged the assassination. The British secret service call in the Mossed, asking for the help of Gabriel Mossed to find the killer and kill him. He seeks the help of another IRA member, a British counter-intelligence officer who had become a paid assassin, to find the killer. The book is well written, as are almost all of Silva’s books. The First Salute by Barbara Tuchman The title of the book deals with the fact that the Dutch of the island of St. Eustacius in the Caribbean were the first to give the traditional salute to the flag of the rebellious colonies that became the United States. This masterpiece speaks of the foreign relations of the colonies along with a number of the military campaigns that led to independence. Tuchman is a great historian/popular author, and this is one of her better books. I hope you have a good week. Shalom fr. Jude

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Rome

January 21, 2019 Peace and Good, It is so good to write just one city in the places that I have been for the past period of time. This past week was one of our General Definitories. It was filled with topics to cover. A lot of the work has to do with the fact that we are preparing for the General Chapter beginning in Assisi on May 18th, so there is a lot to do for that. There were also a couple situations in the Order that needed immediate attention. The weather here in Rome is rainy and cool, more like London than Rome. What is nice here, though, is that even if it is generally rainy, the sun will peak through at least once or twice during the day. There are not as many pilgrims and tourists in Rome these days. This is the off season. There was a little problem with the scripture blogs a few days ago, but the head of the office quickly addressed it. If ever you have difficulty receiving the blog, please let me know and we will get on it as soon as possible. I have finished some reading: The Egyptian Scientific Institute by Charles River Editors At the beginning of the 19th century, Napoleon, who was not yet the absolute ruler of France, decided to distract British forces by invading Egypt. He intended to cut the route to India and create difficulties for England there as well. He was successful at the beginning, but quickly the British under Admiral Nelson defeated his fleet, causing him to eventually sneak back to France. While his invasion was unsuccessful, his establishment of a scientific institute in Egypt was wildly successful. He brought along artists, scientists, archaeologists, etc. who went on to produce many scientific studies. One of his greatest accomplishments occurred years later when a Frenchman, Charpentier, managed to decipher the Rosetta Stone which had been found during his invasion (and thus find a translation for Egyptian hieroglyphs. Elizabeth I: Red Rose of the House of Tudor by Kathryn Lasky This is a simple book written as if it were the diary of Princess Elizabeth of England in the years immediately before the death of her father, Henry VIII. It brings across her scholarship, her terrible relationship with her half sister Mary, her fears of banishment, etc. Mad Enchantment by Ross King Ross King is an author who deals with the history of art. This volume deals with Monet and his water lily productions. It speaks quite a bit about his relationship with other artists and especially with Clemenceau. Monet promised to make a huge art donation to the French government, but then all but backed out. The book deals with his sight problems once he developed cataracts on both eyes. As is true of all of King’s books, the research in extensive and the story well told. Blood and Rubles by Stuart Kaminsky An American FBI agent travels to Russia and works with police there to track down a Russian mob that seems to be dealing with nuclear bombs. The book deals with the collapse of law and order in the aftermath of the fall of the communist system. Everything is being handled at two or three different levels. Justice is impossible to obtain, even if one follows all the rules, for it is only available to the highest bidder. Our Kind of Traitor by John le Carre A Russian plutocrat seeks to defect to Great Britain bringing with him information about his activities to launder money for the various Russian mobs (with which the government is involved). He is not exactly a refined person, and he is bringing with him a family that is strange and yet in need of aid. He contacts a British school teacher while on vacation in the Caribbean, asking for help. He and his wife contact the secret services, and the rest of the book is the attempt to bring him to Great Britain and give him political asylum (which not all the government officials want because they are in bed with the Russian mob. Le Carre does not present a 007 scenario of spying – quite the opposite. One sees the human flaws in the agents and the government. Have a good week. Shalom fr. Jude

Sunday, January 13, 2019

London - Rome

January 13, 2019 Peace and Good, I finished my visit to London. It was not all that cold, but incredibly dreary. I understand why the British left the island to colonize all over the world. I also got to my favorite Chinese restaurant. I got my tripe which I try to get every time I get to London. This past week as been dedicated to a meeting with new provincials, custodes and provincial secretaries from all over the world. There were twelve of them this time. It was a good group that really tried to participate as much as possible. They asked a lot of questions and shared quite a bit. In the middle of the week I had to scoot up to Assisi for some business. While it was cold in Rome when I left, it was super cold in Assisi with a strong wind. By the time I left there were snow flakes in the air, something that occasionally happens in Assisi but rarely in Rome. We finished our meeting yesterday with a pilgramage to the Basilica of St. Bartholomew on the Tiber Island. This basilica is dedicated to the martyrs of the 20th century (from the communists, nazis, rightists and leftists, religious groups, etc.). It is a moving experience to see the various items which these martyrs used and to read a bit of their story. Tomorrow we begin our definitory meeting here in Rome. That will continue through Friday, and then it will be off to the States (Ellicott City, Clifton, Bridgeport and Boston). I finished some reading: Emperor Maximilian I of Mexico by Gustavo Lozano and Charles River Editors This is a short treatment on Emperor Maximilian. Right around the time of the Civil War, Mexico was falling apart. There were various debts to other nations and they were threatening on intervening to make sure that they were paid. The chief among them was France which actually invaded. The US could not really invoke the Monroe Doctrine because of the civil war. Maximilian, a Hapsburg from Austria, was invited to become the emperor. He was actually liked by many Mexicans, but Juarez fought a rebellion which eventually overthrew him. He was executed, and his wife Carlotta travelled back to Europe where she lost her mind. Marshall Josip Broz Tito by Charles River Editors This is the story of the Communist dictator of Yugoslavia. He ruled from the time that he liberated his country from the Nazis until he died. The book is very fair, speaking of his relative success in establishing a mixed economy in his country, but also ruthlessly eliminating his enemies. The book also treats his attempt to establish a reformed version of communism which did not depend upon the communism of the Soviet Union. Since Yesterday: the 1930’s in America, September 3, 1929-September 3, 1939 by Frederick Lewis Allen This is a very good treatment of life in America during the 1930’s. This is volume two, the first dealing with the 1920’s. The book deals with major figures, movements, political issues, etc. One of the things that most impressed me was Allen’s judgment of why the Depression lasted so long (for it never really ended until the beginning of World War II). His diagnosis is that major corporations had gained so much power in the nation that they all but closed out of the market any entrepreneur who wanted to start a new business. Lincoln’s Bishop: a President, a Priest and the Fate of 300 Dakota Sioux Warriors by Gustav Niebuhr At the beginning of the Civil War, there was a disaster in the state of Minnesota. The Sioux rebelled and conducted a series of massacres in which hundreds of people died. This book deals with that period, but also with the Episcopal bishop of Minnesota who fought for just treatment of the native Americans. He studied the various treaties that had been made with them and chronicled how the government and its agents had violated all of them. He even travelled to the White House to lobby President Lincoln. I had never heard anything about this story, and the book was very good. Medieval Russia: The History and Legacy of the Groups that Developed the Russian State in the Middle Ages by Charles River Editors This short treatment of the history of Russia in the Middle Ages speaks of the slow amalgamation of the various city states to become the country of Russia centered on Moscow. It speaks of the Mongol invasion and their influence upon Russian culture and politics for over one hundred years (through the Golden Hoard). It also deals with the inauguration of the serf system. Great Trials of World History by Douglas Linder This is one of the Teaching Company great courses. This particular course covers a series of 24 lectures, each dealing with a particular trial which had great influence upon history. Some of the trials are from long ago (e.g. Socrates, Giordano Bruno) while others are more recent (of Nelson Mandela, the Scottsboro boys, the Chicago eight, etc.). Each lecture gives information about why the trial occurred, how it was argued, and how it ended. The course is very well done. Have a good week. Shalom fr. Jude

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Rome - London

January 3, 2019 Peace and Good, I spent the Christmas days in Rome. Many of the friars headed out to visit friends and family, so I helped baby sit the Curia. We always need someone at home in case there is an emergency somewhere. On December 31st I flew into London to visit the friars here. We have a custody in Great Britain and Ireland, and it is good to touch base every once in a while to see how things are going. So far it looks good. The custody has its problems, as does every jurisdiction, but over all I see improvement in what has been going on. Tomorrow I will fly back to Rome and next week we have our annual workshop for new provincials. That goes a week, and then the week after we have our usual definitory meeting. I finished some reading: Will Rogers: American Legend by Charles River Editors Will Rogers was a comic cowboy during the early decades of the twentieth century. This is a short biography of Rogers along with some of his witty political commentary. My favorite saying what when he told people that he did not belong to any organized political party – that he was a Democrat. CSI Reilly Steel Inferno by Casey Hill Reilly Steel is an American forensic expert working for the Irish police. This particular story deals with a series of murders that are tied to a trial in which a rapist got away with a very light sentence due to his connections. Someone is killing people involved with this miscarriage of justice using scenes taken out of Dante’s Inferno. The Art of Deception by Ridley Pearson This is a detective novel dealing with a series of murders. The story is quite good, and I enjoyed listening to it. It is not all that deep, but it was entertaining. The Proud Tower by Barbara Tuchman Barbara Tuchman is a great historical author. This book deals with the period between 1890 and the beginning of World War I. It treats both Europe and the US. She deals with major characters, major movements, attitudes, etc. I could always recommend any of her books. They are packed with information without being overwhelming. By Its Cover by Donna Leon Donna Leon is one of my favorite authors. She writes detective novels in Venice. Although she is not a native, she is able to catch the nuances of life there. She will throw out comments here and there that, when one knows how Italian think, are just great. This volume deals with a theft of rare books in various libraries and museums along with a murder. The First Battle of Ypres by Charles River Editors This is the overview of the horrific Battle of Ypres at the beginning of World War I at which there were tens of thousands of casualties on both the allied (French and English) and the German side – about 130,000 on each side). It speaks of the foolishness of the generals on both sides who tried to use antiquated techniques of battle in a changed world (for the artillery and machine guns that were deployed made battle patterns used during the Napoleonic Wars insane). It marked the destruction of the veteran strength of both armies along with the devastation of the newly trained troops (entire classes of University students and those who were considered to be natural leaders on both sides of the battle). Have a good week. Shalom fr. Jude