Thursday, June 6

As time passes, pundits must work harder and harder to find a new angle for commentary on The Situation.

Krauthammer does a good job today as he places the problem in the context of the Church's responsibility to the broader civil society in which it exists.

How the church treats sin is not a concern for non-Catholics. Of absolute concern for non-Catholics, however, is how the church treats crime -- whether it reports criminality occurring within its gates for adjudication and punishment by secular authorities. That is the test. It is a test not of faith but of citizenship

He starts off with an excellent story, too.

I have to disagree with Krauthammer, however, when he says that the reason for the failure to report these crimes has more to do with the Church's sense of isolation, of being a kingdom-unto-itself, than it does with fear of exposure. I think it was 99% the latter, and the other one percent was the clerics' determination not to see fellow clerics in jail.

Here's a fairly thorough rundown of who's speaking at the Bishop's meeting next week including, thank God, many victims:

On Thursday, when the conference opens, Clohessy and two other survivors will address the full session of 288 bishops. SNAP leaders say these will be the first substantive meetings the group has had with bishops in nearly a decade.

In addition, there will be two private meetings with smaller groups of "top bishops" (whoever they are) and cardinals.(we know who they are).

Gospel Hymns Under the Star of David

A most interesting article from the NYTimes (LRR) about church buildings in Harlem that were originally synagogues:

On the map of the Jewish diaspora, Harlem is Atlantis. That it was once the third largest Jewish settlement in the world after the Lower East Side and Warsaw — a vibrant hub of industry, artistry and wealth — is all but forgotten. It is as if Jewish Harlem sank 70 years ago beneath the waves of memory, beyond recall.

At least until you spy the Star of David medallions atop the Baptist Temple Church. Or the cornerstone of the Mount Neboh Baptist Church that says it was built in 5668. Or the marble pediment leading to the baptismal pool at the Mount Olivet Baptist Church, on which is inscribed the Old Testament verse: "Jehovah is in his holy temple; be silent, before him, all the earth."

In its churches, of all places, Harlem reveals its Jewish past.

I didn't know that David Berkowitz, AKA Son of Sam claims a religious conversion and is a favorite of certain evangelicals:

Today Berkowitz calls himself the Son of Hope. People world-wide accept his story of Christian redemption. A San Diego church is host to a Web site on which Berkowitz shares daily thoughts on his "mission field." Hundreds of missives he once forwarded to me point to the adoration he inspires. For a young man in Africa who now calls himself Kwaku Berkowitz, the former Son of Sam is his "Father and friend in the Lord" and, as he spells it, "Dady."

This year several TV stations--Trinity Broadcasting Network, among them--are airing a half-hour documentary film, "Forgiven for Life," in which Berkowitz describes the cult in characteristically vague ways: "I met some guys at a party on the block," he says. "They seemed like nice people, but they were into some kinky stuff with witchcraft . . . one thing led to another." Berkowitz asserted the same thing in "Son of Sam/Son of Hope," which has aired in prisons and youth facilities nationwide.

But the author of this piece in Friday's WSJ doesn't buy the story. Read it to see why she has her doubts

What's your diocese being called to next week? I'd like to know. Here's what was in our diocesan paper today (Fort Wayne/South Bend) has from our Bishop D'Arcy:

I have set aside Friday, June 14, as a day of prayer for our diocese. I am asking eery parish to offer Mass that day for the bishops assembled in Dallas, and for the easing of this crisis. I am asking each parish to have a period of exposition of the Blessed Sacrament that day, or some other form of special prayer.

Good idea:

Eucharistic Adoration in Dallas:

During the Bishops' meeting, Bishops, victims of sexual abuse, and others will spend forty eight hours in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, asking the Lord Jesus to bring healing and peace to victims and to be present to our Bishops. Parishes, religious communities, and other groups might well conduct continuous adoration of the Blessed Sacrament during this same time, beginning with a Mass designed to coincide with the Opening Mass for the Bishops' Meeting at 7:00am on Thursday, June 13th and concluding forty eight hours later with a Mass on Saturday morning at 7:00am.

Many ask the question, "What can I do to help?" The only way any of us can discern an answer to that question is by seeking the presence of Christ, "the way, the truth, and the life." Many things seems impossible for us. But with God, all things are possible.

An excellent step. Copies of specific prayers are available through the Bishop's website (linked above). Thanks to BettNet for the link.

The lies abortion proponents tell, including the denial of a link between abortion and breast cancer.
Pope wil serve until death, says Cardinal
I'll bet you're wondering where I was this morning.

Okay, I'll just go ahead and admit it.

I went to the Hilton downtown to try out for The Weakest Link - the syndicated version, not the Ann Robinson You are - theweakestlinkgoodbye version.

Why not? I reasoned. A couple of hours out of my life and who knows what pot o' gold lies awaiting.

I'll end the suspense. None. Didn't get on.

But it was sort of interesting, nonetheless. You know me, I'm always up for learning how another little corner of the world works. The audition process went like this: fill out a personal questionnaire, take a simple 20 question test (Where were the 2000 Summer Olympics held? Who directly preceded Richard Nixon as president of the United States?), then wait to see if you made the first cut. If you made the first cut, you then did a filmed audition of some sort - I didn't make it that far, tragically enough, but oh well. I suppose I wasn't fascinating enough. The baby had just about had enough being cared for by his brother and sister by that time, anyway.

The one interestin thing I learned? Filming an episode takes about two-and-a-half hours. That's the syndicated, 30-minute version with 6 contestants. The reasons it takes so long are what you'd expect: light changes, set changes - and one you might not. At least I didn't. When a contestant is voted off, the taping stops and the writers come and confer with the host to come up with a good insulting exit line or exchange, and then taping resumes, giving the impression of a terribly clever ad-lib. Illusion. All illusion.

We drowned our sorrows in lunch at a sub place up the Mall way, a trip to Sam's to get a couple of cases of water, and some time in Border's, where I picked up a self-taught Latin course for David, who has decided he will start to learn the language this summer. (They don't offer it at his school.)

Oh- and you're wondering why I'm not in St. Louis? My session was cancelled for lack of interest. Rejection at every turn this week, eh? I am - theweakestlink. I think I can handle it. I've got a 14-month old feller who runs up to me, hugs my leg and says "Mama!" now.

An interesting account of the legal wrangling in the Weakland case.
When an Important Priest Disappears: How New York is dealing from the NYTimes (LRR).
The connections between abusing priests in Boston. network there.
When I was a child and adolescent, our family spent about a month every summer in Sanford, Maine - my mother's childhood home.

My summer friend during those years was a girl named Lisa, who lived across the field from my great-uncle's house. She was one of many children, and the only girl. Her oldest brother had the oddest name, I thought. They all called him "Nobbit." I could never figure out where the name came from or why anyone would answer to it. For years, I sincerely believed the guy's name was Nobbit.

Then one day, I was at Lisa's house and for some reason, saw a list of her family's names written down on paper. I pointed to one of whom I'd never heard - a mystery brother, perhaps. "Who's that?" I asked.

Lisa looked at me like I was pretty stupid. Which I was. "That's Nobbit" she said.

"But - " I started to protest, but then I got it. The name on the paper was Norbert, pronounced in those thick Down East accents and heard by my uncomprehending Midwestern/Southern ears as, of course, Nobbit.

And why do I mention this?

Because today is the feastday of St. Norbert. Incidentally, St. Norbert, besides giving up wealth, establishing a religious order and fighting heresy, was also a bishop who...

On taking possession of it[his see], he was grieved to find that much property belonging to the Church and the poor had been usurped by powerful men, and that many of the clergy led scandalous lives. He succeeded in converting some of the transgressors, but others only became more obstinate, and three attempts were made on his life.

Now there's a brave bishop for you. Let's all pray, in our best Maine accents, to St. Nobbit today, and ask him to intercede for our Church!

Mark Byron's finally down in Central Florida. I feel like extending him a hand in welcome, but you know, I don't live there anymore. But I still enjoy reading his posts from Lake Wales, where he's teaching at Warner Southern, and Lakeland, where he's going to church and where I used to live. BTW Mark, I'm pretty sure the church you're going to is housed in a former in nightclub! And you're already complaining about the heat? It's June. The first week of June. Just wait.....

Oh...and watch out for that highway 60 you're taking to Melbourne. Lots of accidents on it, regularly.


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