Tuesday, April 2

What we did today:

Got up, found some breakfast, then over to the Convention Center to Mass which had, we hoped, the potential to be memorable.

For you see, the presider at this liturgy was Bishop Myers of Newark, who, this time last year, was Bishop Myers of Peoria. Last year, Bishop Myers of Peoria announced that he would not be supporting the attendance of folks in his diocese at the National Catholic Education Association meeting because of their quite dubious choice of Joan Chittister, she of Let's all be more like Jesus - no wait - let's all be more like me (same thing) fame.

And this year, he's celebrating one of the major liturgies. Gee. I wonder why.

Well, the only reference Bishop Myers made to the past was a reference to the song "What a Difference A Day Makes." which he then applied to that situation, but only obliquely. The rest of the homily was the usual praise of his audience. He did the Eucharist Prayer I (the Roman Canon), though, which was interesting. I doubt they would have done that at the NCEA twenty years ago.

So then I turned in my talk to the Press office, checked out the room in which I'll be speaking tomorrow, and then we were off - to do a bit of wandering down the coast, find some lunch, and then back here where the baby could finally nap lying down and Michael could work out and I could blog with you, my dear friends.

Tonight, a reception. Tomorrow, the talk and a couple of hours of book-signing. I don't quite know how that's going to happen, what with the baby and his nursing requests and all, but we'll see.

Yeah, yeah. I know.

A reader reminds me of how gambling is not exactly a vice to Catholics. I know. I know how important bingo is to Catholic schools. Which of course brings us the strange sight of Catholic bishops often banding together against state-sponsored lotteries and such (as is now happening in Tennessee). Moral principles are often cited. Fear of competition with church-sponsored gambling is probably more the issue.

I know all of this, but it doesn't make it any less disturbing in my mind. I've been in a few casinos - in Biloxi, in Montreal, in Windsor and now here. Never done anything except nickel slots myself, and that just to..I don't know. Just do get the ritual gambling overwith so we can get the heck out of there and go do something more interesting.

But I just don't see how one could defend this kind of gambling as morally neutral. These places are so depressing - windowless, smoke-filled, full of weak calls to "have fun", people slouched at the slots, cups full of change next to them, and right outside the door...do you know? Do you know what the blocks around here are filled with, little buildings squeezed inbetween Caesar's and Bally's and the Trump Behemoth?

Pawn Shops. "Cash for Gold." "Quick Cash."

It just doesn't fit. Well. Next year will be better. St. Louis.

A slight dissent from my dissent on dissent:

From a reader who also happens to be a married Roman Catholic priest:

The truth about the nature of clerical culture is that it will reflect its own concerns (maleness and celibacy are two big ones, dissent and levels of obedience to what and whom are two more) and wider cultural concerns (hyper-sexuality, changing attitudes toward fringe orientations, pan-cultural deconstruction of absolutes, dominant ideologies). What it was supposed to reflect was Jesus Christ’s total devotion to his people, to the exclusion of having “a place to lay his head.” I am, at best, half a reflection; some of my priest brothers are in more dire straits.

The problem with the so-called orthodox bishops is that they are reflexively self-protective themselves, as well as being protective of the brotherhood, now to the point that the welfare of their people are sometimes endangered by the loyalty and fear that exists within the priesthood. I see Cardinal Law as a good, credulous man who couldn’t quite believe that a PRIEST (for gosh sakes) could be such a predator. There’s a disconnect between the crime and the perpetrator (as evidenced by Law’s almost gushing mash notes to Geoghan). In my opinion he is guilty of complicity in the later crimes committed by this man.

Too, they don’t want Rome to know that they aren’t in control of their dioceses, and there has been an unwillingness to tell Rome personally (I believe they know but it would nice to hear it from the staff present) of the chaos present in so many dioceses in this country for one reason or another. Bishops don’t tell on each other, so the next step is protecting the public image of the Church from others (Victims? False accusers? Rebel priests? Who would you blame?).

I. Hate. This.

Why is the National Catholic Education Association convening in Atlantic City? Why am I having to stay in Caesar's, where I open the curtains in the morning, and see not the sunshine and not even the ocean, but fake marble statues of Roman nymphs or some such thing, looking down on a lone woman sitting at a slot machine at 7am, smoking her cigarette and feeding coins into the hungry machine?

What insanity is this?

I hope I'll have more blogging time tonight, but for now let me say this about Philadelphia: if you're planning a trip there this summer to reinforce your patriotism and glimpse some of our nation's early history -


Probably because of terrorism fears, they are, first of all, having everyone who wants to see the Liberty Bell go through a security check. The line was down the block. (We didn't join it). To see Indepence Hall and the rest of that complex, you have to go on an escorted tour - can't just wander through (and maybe you never could, but still)....again, the line for that went down the block. Didn't join that one either. We did see a few things - Ben Franklin's grave, the Quaker meeting house, Franklin's printery shop and the Shrine of St. John Neumman. It being a Monday, art museums were closed, but perhaps we'll catch something of that on the way back. I don't know. All I do know is that I am disgusted at this meeting of catechists and administrators dedicated to teaching the Gospel, we have gathered in this wretched place dedicated to exploiting people's needs and least worthy desires. It's so depressing.

UPDATE: I stand corrected. A reader writes to let me know that he visited Philly in the mid-80's and the tour group policy was in effect. All I can say is - get there early, then.


Blog Archive