Friday, November 11, 2022


November 11, 2022 Peace and Good, I have been here in Rome for the past couple of weeks. This past week we had a definitory meeting which began on Monday afternoon and ended on Saturday afternoon. One of the things that was decided is that I will remain here in Rome for another six months, until the end of June. The friar who will be my successor will not be able to free himself up until that time. The weather has been cooler but nice. The fall rains have not yet begun, which is not really a good thing. Italy has been suffering from a drought. Tomorrow I head off to Australia for two weeks. The first week will be a visit with all the friars in the delegation, and then we will hold an assembly the second week. This week has been great for writing and taping daily reflections. I have finished my articles for the Messenger Magazine in Padua til May, and have finished my daily reflections til the week before Christmas. That is good since I will not have too much time for those projects when I am on the road. I finished some reading and listening: The Thief by Fuminori Nakamura This is quite an odd but a very good book about a pickpocket in Tokyo and his involvement with a professional criminal. It also speaks of his effort to protect a small child who is being groomed by his mother to steal. Although the story was strange, it was entertaining. The Magna Carta by James Daugherty This is a short history of the conditions that led to the declaration of the Magna Carta, the struggle between the nobles and the King (John), the immediate aftereffects of the declaration, and finally of its eventual influence upon the various efforts to establish societies with greater freedom. The study is not all that serious, and eventually turns out superficial at some points. The Intruder by Jeffery Deaver This is a short novel on a man who believes that he is being staked by a murderer, the mentally ill brother of his deceased wife. It turns out that he has caused her death. There is signs around his house that someone is watching him and seeking to enter his house during the night. There is quite a surprise ending to the story. America’s Founding Women by Cassandra Good This is a teaching company course on some of the women who were important in the early era of the American Revolution and the American Republic. The course is very much a feminist history, which at times is very valuable and at other times a forced interpretation. Yet, I did feel that the course was worth its effort. The End: The Defiance and Destruction of Hitler’s Germany, 1944-1945 by Ian Kershaw This is a very good book that deals with the German side of the end of World War II. He deals with the governments, the armies, and the civilians. He shows why many Germans fought with everything they had long after it was clear that they had lost. He speaks of the terrible destruction, the terrible fear, the terrible suffering in those days. He deals with the question of the Soviet treatment of captured German towns and people. The book is very, very well written. Four Trials that Changed the World by Austin Sarat The presenter of this lecture deals with four major trials: the Scope Monkey Trial, the Nuremburg trial, the OJ Simpson Trial and finally the Clinton impeachment. It is an odd mix of trials, but Sarat uses each to show how judicial events can help to change society. South Africa by Joseph Stromberg This is a short history of the Republic of South Africa from its settlement by the Dutch (who would become the Boers) and the English. It deals with the battle between Europeans and native communities. It speaks of the discovery of gold and diamonds and the effect of this upon the country (and especially its international relations). A major part of the work deals with apartheid, and this book was written before the final destruction of this horrible system. The History and Archaeology of the Bible by by Jean-Pierre Isbouts This is a Great Courses production, speaking of the message of the Old and New Testament seen through the eyes of an archaeologist. He speaks of what can be proven by records (whether written which is rare and more commonly ruins). His view of religion is certainly a bit liberal (e.g. his theory of miracle healings), but this course does provide some valuable information. Erasmus by Ferdinand Jives This is an overview of the life and writings of Erasmus, the Dutch free thinker who produced an important critical edition of the Greek New Testament. He hated pietistic and hierarchical forms of religion, but he never broke with the Catholic Church (even though Luther urged him to do so). He also argued strongly for the proper education of children, judging a failure to do so as akin to child abuse. Although quite short, this book does give valuable information on the man and his times. Marie Antionette by Evelyne Lever This was a thorough treatment of the life and death of the queen of France during the French Revolution. The author gives good detail and provides an honest portrait of the good and not so good aspects of the queen. She deals with her naivete and her tendency to allow herself to be used by others, e.g., by her mother, the Empress of Austria, her mother. She also tried to use others, but she was not all that successful in her attempts. By the time of the revolution, she was hated as an agent of Austria and a woman whose spending helped bankrupt the country. Have a good week. Shalom fr. Jude


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