Wednesday, July 10

I told you it would be a slow day...

and I was right. I had two nice radio interviews, and actually got both of my articles written. One I'm pleased with, the other will do, I guess. Tomorrow I plan to share some thoughts with you on Garry Wills Why I Am a Catholic, as well as reflect on St. Benedict, whose feastday is July 11. If either of those interest you, be sure to show up tomorrow.

LA District Attorney says he will take investigation of sex-abuse claims "wherever it leads."

A New Times survey of dozens of law enforcement agencies within the three counties that make up the archdiocese reveals that at least 72 -- and likely more than 100 -- current or former priests are under suspicion in at least 142 cases of suspected abuse, and the number of cases is increasing almost daily. Such statistics already place L.A. on a plane with the Boston Archdiocese, where authorities are investigating about 200 abuse cases involving nearly 100 priests. Yet even as the number of cases being reported to law enforcement via telephone hot lines has mushroomed in recent weeks, Mahony has stonewalled authorities while claiming to cooperate with them. It wasn't until June 18 -- three and a half months after Cooley first ordered Mahony to turn over documents pertaining to accused pedo-priests -- that the archdiocese finally surrendered its first scrap of paper to law enforcement. And that was only after the D.A. made good on his threats to have the L.A. County grand jury force the cardinal's hand with a subpoena. The documents released so far relate to only three of the dozens of priests under investigation.

Evangelicals gaining in Brazil:

What started out as a religious movement in the shantytowns of cities such as Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo has permeated every social class in Brazil.In addition to the tiny storefront churches that are fixtures in the more than 500 favelas or shantytowns that ring Rio de Janeiro, there are evangelical business associations, political groups, and more than 300 evangelical radio and television stations across the country. There are seven times as many evangelical pastors as Catholic priests in Brazil. Assiria Nascimento, wife of the legendary soccer player Pele, is an evangelical singing star, as is Rodolfo Abrantes, a rock star who recently joined a church called Christ is Live and has the words "Thank you, God" tattooed on his neck.

From the LATimes (LRR): The shape of Christian fiction - beyond Left Behind

"You can't base your opinion on Christian fiction by what you read three years ago," said Brandilyn Collins, one of the genre's hot new writers. Her book, "Color the Sidewalk for Me," won glowing reviews in mainstream magazines. ("Excellent ... beautifully written ... well-developed characters ... exemplifies how Christian fiction is finally coming of age," wrote Publishers Weekly.) The upswing in quality has resulted in a doubling of sales in Christian fiction since 1995, with novels now accounting for about 20% of revenue in U.S. Christian bookstores, according to industry estimates. During the same time, the number of available novels has grown from 500 to 1,800, many now published by divisions of major houses such as Viking, Warner and Doubleday

Oscar Hijuelos' latest novel, A Simple Habana Melody: From When the World Was Good was apparently trashed in the NYTimes, primarily for the central plot point that the main character, a Catholic, is arrested and sent to Buchenwald because of his Jewish-sounding name. The reviewer said it was contrived.

Problem was, it was based on a true story, which Hijeulos pointed out in a recent appearance in New York

What The Times didn't realize was that this contrived move was actually based on the somewhat contrived life of Cuban composer Moises Simons (he wrote "The Peanut Vendor," a song Mr. Hijuelos said you might hear "if you're stuck in an airport at 3 in the morning"), who "was arrested by the Germans for being Jewish, who wasn't, but ended up in a camp." (The Times shouldn't get so down on itself: The only major paper to make reference to Simons in a review was The Dallas Morning News.) Mr. Hijuelos heard about Simons and had conceived of writing a biographical ballet about the all-but-forgotten composer, but couldn't find out enough about Simons' life to proceed; instead, he used the material he had as a rough plot sketch for A Simple Habana Melody, which Mr. Hijuelos considers "an homage."

By the way, if you haven't read Hijuelos' Mr. Ives' Christmas, do. It's a quiet, fine little novel about faith. Excellent.

Two radio shows and one article down, one article to go. If Joseph takes a big ol' nap this afternoon, I'll be all set.
I'll be on two radio shows this morning:

Heart, Mind and Strength with Dr. Greg about 9:50 eastern and then Johnette Benkovic's show at 11 eastern.

Between that and the two articles I have due today, don't expect much blogging until late afternoon.

Long profile of Paul Shanley in the Boston Globe in case you're interested. What you should be interested are the folks in the article who said they were inspired by his ministry and his outspokeness on homosexuality.
Pennsylvania memorialized dead transportation workers with small crosses.


Americans United for Separation of Church and State objects, so they put little hard hats in place of the tops of the crosses.

I can think of a lot of fun and entirely appropriate things to do to Al Gore (Turn up the Macarena really loud on your car radio as you drive by his house; send him a Supreme Court mug for his birthday....), but treating him like a potential terrorist is really unnecessary, don't you think?

Last month, while boarding a Midwest Express flight to Milwaukee, former Vice President Al Gore was pulled aside at the boarding gate. He was frisked and his carry-on luggage searched. The entire flight was boarded before Reagan National Airport guards concluded that Al Gore posed no hijacking threat. It was more of the same on his return flight to Washington.....Human Events (June 24) interviewed several U.S. senators asking them: "Al Gore was searched twice last week in U.S. airports. Isn't that a waste of limited resources?" Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., replied: "No, they do that to anybody. It's a random check." When asked the same question, Sen. John Breaux, D-La., said, "No, I think everyone ought to be subjected to the same rules, whether it's a member of Congress or a member of the Senate, all public officials." Sen. Jim Bunning, R.-Ky., answered: "I've been searched 20 times. ... That's the way it should be. We shouldn't be exempt from that."


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