Friday, September 13

From the Chicago Tribune: (LRR) A lengthy, absorbing profile of Harper Lee who, true to form, would not be interviewed for the piece, but who did, for the first time in decades, allow her photograph to be taken.

But who is this enigmatic woman, now 76, whose message of tolerance, shared humanity and resolve in the face of conformist pressure never has been more timely? How does she live her life, and why has she chosen to spend it in relative anonymity? And, perhaps the most-asked question of all: Why has one of the most successful and affecting American novelists of all time elected never to publish another book?In the wake of the work's "One Book, One Chicago" run, which culminated in a weeklong series of events that Lee -- as she almost always does -- declined to attend, the Tribune went searching for answers.Characteristically, Lee declined comment for this story.But, over the past year, through extensive reporting and rare interviews with Harper Lee's older sister, Alice Finch Lee, and some of Harper Lee's close friends, all of whom granted unprecedented access to the details of the author's life, a portrait of a remarkable woman emerged: a woman who divides her year between small-town Alabama and New York City; who often is labeled a recluse yet crisscrosses Manhattan by city bus and goes, unnoticed, to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, to baseball games and restaurants; who reads voraciously, especially history, but does not discuss what, if anything, she might be writing when she works at her Royal manual typewriter; and who relishes fishing, golf and University of Alabama football.

Note: if you're not a registered user of the Chicago Tribune, take a hike over to Moby Lives for his link to the story, which includes a username and password you can use.

Conversations are underway to split the Diocese of Richmond in two

Hampton Roads would be the core of a new Roman Catholic diocese under a proposal, now being reviewed by the church hierarchy, to split the Diocese of Richmond in two. ``The time has come, that's the way I feel about it,'' Bishop Walter F. Sullivan said Friday. ...The idea was advanced last year by the Rev. Thomas J. Quinlan, who pastors Church of the Holy Family in Virginia Beach. It gained the assent of the Diocesan Council of Priests last fall and subsequently received Sullivan's blessing.

This is an excellent idea, for in case you don't know it, the Diocese of Richmond is geographically vast - it runs from the Cumberland Gap all the way over to the eastern shore of Virginia. Although I have to say, it would make more sense to me to cut it off at Richmond and make Roanoke the diocesean see of the rest of it. Richmond is still a good hike from Bristol.

The Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown invites apparent Matthew Fox disciple Sister Jose Hobday to speak at a diocesan conference. Brian Barcaro of the Diocese Report fame starts a protest. Surprisingly, the secular press notices.

Conservative Catholics point to her involvement in a California-based movement called “Techno Cosmic Mass,” lead by Matthew Fox. The movement describes itself as using the technology of “ecstatic live music, urban shamanism, plus the science of cosmology, to create a new form of Mass for people of all faiths.” Hobday, along with Fox, is listed as the celebrant ofa Techno Cosmic Mass entitled “Peace and Lights." The services are held at the Historic Sweets Ballroom in Oakland, Calif., described as “a post-modern dance hall infused with premodern mysticism.” On the group’s Web site, the Techno Cosmic Mass is described as accepting “diverse sexual orientations,” and “bringing the body back to worship; trance dance is the primary form of prayer.”
The group’s literature says one of its qualities is “deconstructing priesthood: The posse, not just an ordained individual, as priest,” according to the group’s literature.”...Diocese spokeswoman Parks said that Internet information about Hobday is unreliable. She said she is not aware of the Techno Cosmic Mass movement, or of Hobday’s involvement.

Class of nine enters seminary for Diocese of Pittsburgh. That's the most in 14 years.
Thanks to a reader for pointing me to this exchange from the NY Review of Books between Garry Wills and some he has critiqued and some who have critiqued him - Phillip Jenkins, Kenneth Woodward, and the like. I haven't read it yet, and I've got to run and get the baby from the sitter, but have at it, and I'll check in later.
A reader just emailed me to wonder if the comment section on the How Can They Do It post can get overloaded. I don't know. Let's not find out. Why don't you move the discussion here, if you like, while I get some other work done today!

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