Friday, December 4, 2020


December 4, 2020 Peace and Good, I finished my ten day quarantine on Wednesday evening, so I am free again. I used the quarantine time to edit my Lectors' Handbook for 2022, so I am ahead quite a bit. The weather here in Rome is wintery. That means that it rains quite a bit, but usually only part of the day. It is cool, but not cold. Everyone on the streets is wearing a mask. All of the progress that Italy had made after the first terrible months has largely been lost. It is strange because restaurants are to close at 6 PM, and most Italians would not think of eating supper before 8 PM or so. This means that the city has become very quiet in the evening. We are still celebrating the novena to the Immaculate Conception in our Basilica, although with social distance and masks, etc. We are the offical novena for that feast in Rome (for our theologians did a lot to foster this devotion). Every other seat on the pew is empty, but with that restriction, those seats that were open were all filled. The music is always beautiful. Friar Gennaro is a great choir director, and friar Mark Folger from California plays the flute beautifully. Next week we will begin 10 days of definitory. The definitory before Christmas has always been a bit of a tough push since we receive many end of the year reports. Still, Christmas is coming. I finished some reading: The Apostle Paul by Stanley Porter This is an interesting overview of the letters that have been attributed to Paul The author takes the view that he actually wrote 13 of the 14 once attributed to him (not Hebrews). This is a position not accepted by most scholars today, but he nevertheless gives good information concerning the letters. For me it is always good to read a position which I have not held to firm up what I believe about something lest I begin to mouth something simply it is because I have learned it that way. Alcohol and Human Health by OpenLearn This is a short overview of the effect that alcohol has on the human body, especially in terms of its overuse. It speaks about the symptoms of chronic abuse (to the liver, the brain, to unborn children, etc.). It gives a good overview of the problem and its treatment. Hitler’s Spy Chief: the Wilhelm Canaris Mystery by Richard Bassett This is both a biography of Canaris and an account of his role as the head of military intelligence for the Nazi regime during the Second World War. The book strongly insinuates that Canaris was playing a double game. While he was fervently anti-Communist and pro-German, he was nevertheless disgusted with the abuses of the Nazi regime. The book implies that he purposely leaked information to the British in some instances, and in others allowed things which he had learned to be shunted aside so that those discoveries could not be acted upon. He was executed toward the end of the war for his suspected knowledge and collaboration with the Staufenburg attempt on Hitler’s life. Alexander the Great by Philip Freeman This is a very well done biography of Alexander the Great. It is a book which I listened to, and I found it informative and even entertaining. I would recommend it to anyone who wanted to know more about the topic. The Poet by Michael Connelly This is a book about a newspaper journalist who tries to discover the murderer of his twin brother who was a policeman. The murders seem to be tied up with a series of murders committed by a pedophile. The policemen who are killed are all found with quotes from Edgar Allen Poe which are written as if they were suicide notes, but none of them actually committed suicide. The book is extremely well done. Domina, the Women who Made Imperial Rome by Guy de la Bedoyere This is a study of some of the major female players during the days of the Caesars, including Livia, the wife of Augustus, Julia his daughter, Julia his granddaughter, Agrippina, the daughter of Agrippa, etc. They are shown to have exercised considerable power behind the scenes, especially acting through their husbands, sons, etc. The book explores the Roman attitude toward women, toward purity and chastity, etc. – especially in its tendency to have a very clear double standard. The Washington Monument by Charles River Editors This is the story of the slow and painfully interrupted process of the building a national monument to the founder of the nation. It is surprising how many years it took before the government took responsibility for its funding and construction. Keep safe, fr. Jude


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