Thursday, August 1

From the WaPo:A positive wrap-up of the Pope's trip, including details about the thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands and millions of people who listened to him, lined the streets for him and cheered him - and his message.

Garry? Garry?

Anyway - here's how they said good-bye:

When the pope's plane took off, thousands of Mexicans took to roofs and used mirrors to reflect sunshine in a farewell gesture. One family brought an armoire outside and flashed light at the plane with its full-length mirror.

Um....wouldn't that be dangerous? Or not, I guess. But don't ever wave mirrors at me if I'm flying a plane above you, okay?

A WaPo columnist discusses the role of religion in Signs in contrast to Hollywood's usual avoidance of the subject.

But in movies and on TV, when things go wrong, characters lean on drugs, sex, psychologists, friends' advice -- anything but their spirituality. Why does mainstream entertainment so often ignore people's everyday relationship with Spirit? Why is the commonplace belief in a higher authority -- and people's reliance on it during crisis -- rarely depicted? Example: In 2000's "Cast Away," the marooned workaholic played by Tom Hanks is seen sobbing, befriending a soccer ball, even urinating -- but never once questioning or beseeching God. C'mon, crash-landing in the Pacific wouldn't make you pray?

You know, that's exactly what I thought about Castaway, as well. I thought the omission of any kind of religious dimension to the guy's response was totally unrealistic.

Forget your fussing about those Aztecs. Did you know that the Pope is an honorary Harlem Globetrotter?. Oh yes he is!
Mel Gibson on the Church and the scandals. Feel free to fill up the comments section with information on Gibson's affinity with the Tridentine liturgy. (His father was, if I'm correct, a big anti-Vatican II type). Then fit it all in with the Lethal Weapon movies. Can you do it?

Gibson plays Episcopalian minister Graham Hess, a man who loses his faith in God after the tragic death of his wife, in his new film Signs, due to open on August 15. "I looked weird in a clerical collar," he said. "I offered to hear people's confessions, but nobody wanted to tell me anything gritty."

An interesting - and positive piece from a British paper on EWTN, which is trying to raise the money to buy space on Britain's satellite hook-up. It ends with this nugget, reflecting on the former Archbishop Weakland's disdain for Mother Angelica:

Priests visiting EWTN this week were not afraid to draw a lesson from the archbishop's fate. Rev Tom Griffin, from Chicago, explained: "Bishop Weakland didn't have a lot of time for Mother Angelica's theology. But she's still here - and he's gone."

In honor of the beginning of football pre-season, ladies and gentlemen, we present to you the NFL, the cheery land where criminals win MVP awards and rookies who have to help their abandoned sisters through childbirth are fined one-third of their signing bonuses.
CNN has picked up the plenary council letter, first revealed by Deal Hudson of Crisis.

All of the U.S. bishops meet twice a year. However, a "plenary council" as proposed by the eight bishops would focus major attention on the issue of priests who molest children and would have broader participation. Besides all U.S. bishops, it could include lay members and representatives of religious orders and schools. Crisis editor Deal Hudson said one of the signers provided the text, but he would not disclose the eight names. He said the group consists of four of the nation's 44 archbishops, three bishops who head dioceses, and one assistant bishop, but no cardinals. He said the eight represent "a real spectrum" of thinking within the hierarchy.

Let the guessing begin. Not from me, though, I promise you.

Thanks to Nancy Nall for pointing us to this article regarding a piece I posted last week about the Cleveland situation:

Everyone knows someone who's been the fall guy. Maybe you've been one yourself. You know how it works: Someone else with more power did something wrong, but looks to shift the blame elsewhere. It's also called scapegoating. In Cleveland, our daily newspaper has now given scapegoating a new name — "Quinning." In case you missed it, Auxiliary Bishop James Quinn was hung out to dry by The Plain Dealer in a July 23 editorial. Based on its own Sunday story, much of it previously reported, Publisher Alex Machaskee offered up Quinn's head on a platter to Clevelanders as a smokescreen to save the neck of Bishop Anthony Pilla, a man he favors.

Sounds like Signs is the movie to see this weekend. For those of you who can go to the movies, that is. Lucky dogs.
Here's an article from Detroit on the complicated process of removing priests along with a list of accused priest in the Archdiocese. I have to say, I laughed out loud at one listing:

Tony Conti, 53, also known as Tony Helinski

What is this, The Sopranos?

The mess in Tulsa deepens. The Dallas Morning News reports (LRR) that the accused priest has come out swinging, denying any wrongdoing, with the following words:

Meanwhile, in a separate news conference, Father Lewis said he was "not guilty of any wrongdoing, except perhaps indiscretion within the context of societal sensitivities." He said he had treated his young parishioners in the same physically affectionate, appropriate way in which he'd been raised. "Until recently, I had always been praised and affirmed for my ability to reach out in this way toward others," Father Lewis said, also reading from a prepared statement. "Unfortunately, times have changed. Because of problems in our society, there is a heightened fear of any affection being shown toward young people."

The priest's lawyer further explained that...

Addressing specific allegations, the lawyer said that the boy Ms. McMahon saw in Father Lewis' lap was simply being consoled over a death in his family. The boy she saw in bed with him, Mr. Brewster said, had invited the priest to join him there to play a joke on Ms. McMahon

Ms. McMahon being the rectory housekeeper. The boy on the lap was in 6th or 7th grade. Yeah.

Today is the feast of St. Alphonsus Liguori, founder of the Redemptorists. Here's another biography on the Liguori Press website.
What self-aggrandizing rot.

Read this account of a priest's departure from his parish in Michigan (from the NYTimes - LRR) and tell me if you get the same sick feeling as I did as I absorbed the production this priest is making of his situation:

The Rev. Thomas DeVita had planned his departure from public ministry this morning in exquisite detail.He would wear the vestments he bought last Christmas, with the burgundy stripe to match the sanctuary walls. The choir would sing, "Surely the presence of the Lord is in this place" as if it were a holy day, not an ordinary Wednesday. As his final act, he would walk through the pews of St. Mary of the Lake, blessing the congregation. Then, without goodbyes, he would head for his new cottage in the country.

Mr. DeVita is now on administra- tive leave, barred from any public ministry but allowed to say Mass for family and friends in the chapel he plans for the loft of the two-bedroom home he bought 12 days ago for $135,000

The first thing he did upon arriving at his new house after the closing was to place a statue of St. Francis on a table on the deck. (He later moved it to the garden.) Inside, several parishioners who had taken a day off from work tore up the battered carpets and, eventually, knocked down part of a wall to open up the staircase to the chapel he plans. Mr. DeVita's father, Frank, 87, a retired cabinetmaker, spackled holes in the mantel and put up a shelf for the microwave.Mr. DeVita had the doors painted a royal blue, "the color of our blessed mother." On Monday, he placed crucifixes in the bedrooms and unwrapped several paintings of Jesus. "Never can have enough of the Lord," he said as he polished the frame of one with haunting eyes. "This one reminds me to behave myself."

DeVita is appealing his dismissal, and as is often the case, he probably had a decent ministry (although the article does, for once, present alternative voices to the chorus of praise).

What bugs me is planning his last Mass in the parish in exquisite detail....who's at the center of this show called "Your Life", buddy? You or Someone Else?


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