Sunday, March 14, 2021


March 14, 2021 Peace and Good, I have been in quarantine this week in my room. As far as I can remember, this is the 12th this year. The friars here are incredible in being available to supply me with anything I need. Four days this week I participated in a zoom meeting of the members of the federation to which our US provinces belong. Here the meeting lasted from 8 to 12 PM. The meeting went very well with us finding good understandings on most matters. Today I exited my room. I will be here until this coming Saturday morning when the definitory leaves for our annual retreat (in the vicinity of Rome). Then, after the retreat, we will be holding a definitory meeting. Italy is still fairly well locked down. Restaurants must close at 6 PM, and there is a night curfew. I finished some reading: Robin Ince by Audible Interviews This is an interview of a comedian who has also studied mental illness among comedians and artists. He has found a correlation between those with a way of seeing outside of the box and those who suffer from various difficulties. Furthermore, he speaks of responses to bad thoughts that run through one’s mind (how everyone has them) and to death (that each person mourns in his/her own way). America’s War for the Greater Middle East by Andrew Bacevich This is an overview of American policy in the Mid-East (including Afghanistan) over the past decades. The author is very critical of the American attitude of running in and thinking that one can solve all their problems, and then abandoning the effort when it proves to be more difficult than they thought. He also deals extensively with military strategy. He is ruthless in his honesty, which make this read so good. I also like the fact that he tries not to be partisan (Republican or Democrat), but basically says a pox on them all. Christ’s Descent into Hell by Lyra Pitstock This is a very technical book on the meaning of the phrase that Jesus descended into Hell after his death on the cross. The author is contrasting Von Balthassar’s position which interprets this descent symbolically with the teachings of Pope St. John Paul II and Pope Benedict. The book has some interesting points, but certainly reads like a doctoral thesis. A Rare Book of Cunning Device by Ben Aaronovitch This is a short story based on the character of Peter Brown, a young London detective who works on the magic squad. There is a problem with a series of unusual incidents in the British Library, and Peter must solve this incident by discovering a book that is much more than a book. Aaronovitch has created a likeable character and is pitch perfect in dialog and plot development. The Cumans: the History of the Medieval Turkic Nomads by Charles River Editors This is a short account of a tribe of nomads from Asia who eventually settled in much of southern Russia and the Balkans, including Hungary and Bulgaria. They eventually melded into local cultures and the Mongol invaders. The History of Spain: a Land on the Crossroads by Joyce Salisbury This is one of the Teaching Company Courses on the history of Spain from prehistoric times to the present era. The professor is well read and prepared. I enjoy some of her insights, but I often get the impression that everything Muslim and Secular is seen as positive, while everything Catholic is viewed with great suspicion. The Kugelmass Episode by Woody Allen This is a strange little story which take place in Russia. It concerns a smuggling ring which the orator accidentally uncovers. He meets a blind boy who is able to travel around the town without difficulty, a beautiful young woman who is always singing, etc. Keep safe. fr. Jude


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