Wednesday, October 16

Friends remember Pope's childhood

"He played some sports, such as soccer," said Karol Hagenhuber, 82, sipping coffee in the Wadowice City Council office. "He was a goalie. He practiced by kicking a ball against a church wall and he was told by a priest to go away. Isn't it funny?"

Hagenhuber, who shared Wojtyla's nickname "Lolek," was the future pope's school friend from 1931 until World War II broke out in 1939. Hagenhuber emigrated to the United States, but he still keeps in touch with the pope by exchanging birthday and Christmas cards.

...."He would not let you peek at his notes during a test and cheat," said Jura, a retired economist. "He would explain difficult stuff for you very patiently but he wouldn't let you copy his homework."

My son David was told today that he was voted to receive a "senior superlative" - you know..."most likely to..."

He won't know which one until tomorrow when he has his picture taken for the yearbook page, but he's heard hints that its "Most Likely to Be a Millionaire."

But that's not the point. One of the sillier superlatives on the list was "Most Likely to Have Ten Kids," but they ended up taking that one off the list because, well, everyone who was voted that particular prediction....already had kids. So it was deemed in sort of bad taste.

Feast of St. Gerard Majella

This is what I posted last year on this feast. Way before the Situation broke. Interesting.

A Redemptorist lay brother, St. Gerard is remembered for many qualities, including his holiness (well, yeah...we can take that for granted, I guess), his patient endurance of ill health, his gift of healing, and this:

At one point in his life, Gerard was subject to a rather shocking accusation: that he'd had an affair with a woman. this page says the accusation was that he was the father of a child, but nowhere else have I found that element of the story.

When the accusation was brought to him by none other than Redemptorist founder Alphonsus Liguori, Gerard decided to take the Redemptorist rule's command to accept the discipline of one's superior's in silence, without dispute literally, even in this circumstance, which was clearly not the intent of the Rule.

But he did, and was punished for his supposed indisgression for several months, even though everyone found it almost impossible to believe that he would have been capable of such a thing. After a time, the girl, very ill, confessed her lie, and Gerard was brought back into full community life.

This story reminds me of a Zen Koan. Yes, it really does. Here it is:

A beautiful girl in the village was pregnant. Her angry parents demanded to know who was the father. At first resistant to confess, the anxious and embarrassed girl finally pointed to Hakuin, the Zen master whom everyone previously revered for living such a pure life. When the outraged parents confronted Hakuin with their daughter's accusation, he simply replied "Is that so?"

When the child was born, the parents brought it to the Hakuin, who now was viewed as a pariah by the whole village. They demanded that he take care of the child since it was his responsibility. "Is that so?" Hakuin said calmly as he accepted the child.

For many months he took very good care of the child until the daughter could no longer withstand the lie she had told. She confessed that the real father was a young man in the village whom she had tried to protect. The parents immediately went to Hakuin to see if he would return the baby. With profuse apologies they explained what had happened. "Is that so?" Hakuin said as he handed them the child.

Interesting, isn't it? Not so much for the similarities in the stories, but for the differences, which clearly point out the distinctions between Christian and Buddhist spiritual ideals.

The Buddhist ideals that are stressed here are self-detachment, and release from any desire, here the desire for "justice" and even truth. Hakuin certainly acts out of compassion in caring for the baby and protecting the mother's reputation, but that's not the real point. The point is that Hakuin understood that all of the concerns that swirled around the situation were really illusory and not deserving of attachment or concern.

Gerard, on the other hand, is intent on imitating Christ. We may wonder if he took things a bit far, and it may strike us that there's a bit of self-righteousness in his silence in front of St. Alphonsus, but beyond that, the ideals we can see lived out are patience under trial and faith that God's truth will win out in the end.

I have to confess, I find the Buddhist story more appealing. Don't know what that says about me, but there it is.

The NY Daily News on the Brooklyn lawsuit:

"This kind of abuse would have been impossible without the knowing silence of people high in authority," said lawyer Michael Dowd, who filed the suit on behalf of the alleged victims. "They allowed other children to be raped and sodomized over decades."

The suit avers that the diocese was negligent in failing to warn parents about alleged abuse.

Dowd charged that church leaders even maintained a secret bank account called the Good Shepherd Fund, with which they bought victims' silence.

"The men who have done this - not only the abusers but the facilitators - are outlaws who have attempted to hijack the Catholic Church," Dowd said.

Dowd also dropped a bombshell accusation: That Bishop Francis Mugavero, Daily's predecessor, ignored the abuse allegations because he was gay.Dowd charged at a press conference yesterday that Mugavero, who died in 1991, was "living in a glass house" and feared that his own sexual relationships with adult men might become public if he cracked down on abusive priests. That allegation was not in the court papers.

The NY Times account omits that final detail.

Pope declares he will fulfill mission until the end
The text of John Paul II's apostolic letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae

Of the many mysteries of Christ's life, only a few are indicated by the Rosary in the form that has become generally established with the seal of the Church's approval. The selection was determined by the origin of the prayer, which was based on the number 150, the number of the Psalms in the Psalter.

I believe, however, that to bring out fully the Christological depth of the Rosary it would be suitable to make an addition to the traditional pattern which, while left to the freedom of individuals and communities, could broaden it to include the mysteries of Christ's public ministry between his Baptism and his Passion. In the course of those mysteries we contemplate important aspects of the person of Christ as the definitive revelation of God. Declared the beloved Son of the Father at the Baptism in the Jordan, Christ is the one who announces the coming of the Kingdom, bears witness to it in his works and proclaims its demands. It is during the years of his public ministry that the mystery of Christ is most evidently a mystery of light: "While I am in the world, I am the light of the world" (Jn 9:5).

Consequently, for the Rosary to become more fully a "compendium of the Gospel", it is fitting to add, following reflection on the Incarnation and the hidden life of Christ (the joyful mysteries) and before focusing on the sufferings of his Passion (the sorrowful mysteries) and the triumph of his Resurrection (the glorious mysteries), a meditation on certain particularly significant moments in his public ministry (the mysteries of light). This addition of these new mysteries, without prejudice to any essential aspect of the prayer's traditional format, is meant to give it fresh life and to enkindle renewed interest in the Rosary's place within Christian spirituality as a true doorway to the depths of the Heart of Christ, ocean of joy and of light, of suffering and of glory......

21. Moving on from the infancy and the hidden life in Nazareth to the public life of Jesus, our contemplation brings us to those mysteries which may be called in a special way "mysteries of light". Certainly the whole mystery of Christ is a mystery of light. He is the "light of the world" (Jn 8:12). Yet this truth emerges in a special way during the years of his public life, when he proclaims the Gospel of the Kingdom. In proposing to the Christian community five significant moments – "luminous" mysteries – during this phase of Christ's life, I think that the following can be fittingly singled out: (1) his Baptism in the Jordan, (2) his self-manifestation at the wedding of Cana, (3) his proclamation of the Kingdom of God, with his call to conversion, (4) his Transfiguration, and finally, (5) his institution of the Eucharist, as the sacramental expression of the Paschal Mystery.

Dozens sue Brooklyn Diocese

More than 40 adults who claim they were sexually abused as children sued 13 priests and the Diocese of Brooklyn on Tuesday, and accused top clergy of a cover-up dating back more than 50 years. The suit alleges that at least 43 children were abused from 1960 to 1984, and that the diocese tried to hide the attacks by transferring priests from parish to parish.
The abuse ranged from fondling to sodomy and occurred on church altars, in rectories, school stairwells, priests' homes and, in one case, at Shea Stadium during a Mets baseball game, according to the suit. The plaintiffs, whose suit seeks $300 million, did not want their names made public. When they allegedly were abused, the 39 men and four women ranged in age from 7 to 17.


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