Wednesday, May 29

Well, I'm done. Pure tuckered out. Expect a return to full-force blogging tomorrow evening sometime. God bless!
Well, we had a grand old time today, and in the midst of it all, Joseph took three long naps, so here I am in the hotel room at 9:55, fully expecting to be up for a couple more hours. We'll see.

We left Fort Wayne about 7, made it to Chicago a little after ten. We headed to the Field Museum, which is the huge, enormous natural history museum here, featuring all kinds of interesting exhibit, including the famous T-Rex skeleton, "Sue", lotsa mummies, meteorites that fell through farmhouses in Indiana and Illinois, dead stuffed animals. Every schoolchild in Chicago was also there. It's a lovely area of Chicago - there on Lake Michigan, with the Shedd Aquarium across the way - big magnificent building evocative of stolidity and seriousness and great aspirations.

We then headed out to St. Charles and the Religious Booksellers Trade Exhibition. Michael met with a couple of people, Katie, Joseph and I wandered, checked out the competition and met up with some acquaintances. We signed books for an hour, which was such a gratifiying experience - so many people said they loved my books and that they sold well. That's nice for a writer to hear. Although our biggest thrill was perhaps the guy from Stamply Enterprises who also runs the Catholic Freebies site recognized us from ....our blogs! He could even comment authoritatively on the zoo pictures! Cool.

The most impressive exhibit I saw was of Cornwell Scribe Works which bills itself as "Medieval Art for Modern Minds. This is absolutely gorgeous work - illuminations and such - , and I want you all to go visit the site and order bunches of stuff.

We signed books with Mary-Louise Kurey, with whom we're having lunch tomorrow after a visit to the Art Institute of Chicago, and then home.

So. I go out of town for one day and find out that Andrew Sullivan linked me. Thanks so much, Mr. Sullivan!
review of that new Jesuit book in the Weekly Standard:

The blood-curdling vows by which the Jesuit binds himself perpetually to poverty, chastity, and obedience are typically made for the first time when the novice is twenty or twenty-five years old--not at the conclusion but at the outset of the ten years of training in which he will learn what precisely he has committed himself to defend. The more intelligent and idealistic the aspirant, the more spiritually precarious his position, as he comes to grips with the full power of the Church's adversaries and the all-too-human frailty of her defenders. Loyola's gamble was that, if a man's own desire for God could be made present to him, he would willingly endure the required sacrifices until he saw the truth "from inside," and was motivated no longer by discipline but by love. For four centuries the gamble worked.

No more. The recently published "Passionate Uncertainty: Inside the American Jesuits" is a quirky yet convincing depiction of the collapse of the renegade Society of Jesus: papists who hate the pope, evangelists who have lost the faith. Deprived of their reason for existence as Jesuits, they respond either by putting an end to their existence as Jesuits (deserters outnumber active members in the United States) or by indulging a willed imbecility in which the explosively divisive questions are never permitted to surface.

A stunning piece of drivel from Billboard magazine. I really don't understand why Billboard is running pieces on the problems of the Catholic Church, but you know, I guess they just can't help jumping on the bandwagon. The tie-in? Let's see:

In terms of the tattered image of the Pontiff and the scandal-ridden Catholic Church he leads, it would appear with each passing day that Sinéad O'Connor has less and less to apologize for.

Viewers may recall the Saturday Night Live installment of Oct. 3, 1992, during which O'Connor performed an electrifying a capella version of Bob Marley's "War," a song adapted (with the phrase "racial injustice" changed at one point to "sexual abuse") from a famous speech given by Ethiopian emperor Haile Selassie. As the song ended, O'Connor held up an 8-inch-by-10-inch color photo portrait of Pope John Paul II and tore it to pieces, saying, "Fight the real enemy."


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