Thursday, October 24

At Holocaust Museum in DC, two Sudanese bishops tell of the genocide in their own country.
You might be interested in this speech that Archbishop Chaput gave to the Denver Rotary Club

As a citizen, I think one of the worst moments in recent political history was when John F, Kennedy promised a Texas audience that he'd keep his Catholic faith out of his public service. I think all Americans -- not just Catholics -- have been paying for that mistake for 40 years. It's one of the turning points in our community life where this unhealthy fracture between public behavior and personal belief began to grow.

I want my elected officials to inform their actions with their religious and moral beliefs, even if I don't agree with them. I want them to do it prudently and in a spirit of reasonable compromise -- but on the hard issues, I want them to act on their principles, because then I can respect them. I can't respect and I can't trust an elected official, or any other leader, who claims that he or she personally believes one thing, but then publicly does another -- whether the issue involves abortion or the death penalty or prescription medicines for the elderly or affordable housing for the poor.

From the NYTimes: (LRR) Pockets added to friars' tunics; Sky Falls

Since receiving the commission last year to redesign the habit worn by 90 Franciscan friars of the Third Order Regular, Ms. Bianchetti and her design have been praised, debated and excoriated in the Italian press. The state-run television network RAI broadcast a documentary on her innovations, which were termed prete-à-porter, a pun on both the Italian word for priest and the French term for ready-to-wear.

"What Elisabetta Bianchetti did is quite radical," said Adriana Sartogo, who produced the film for RAI-TV. "Italians are very conservative about the clergy, and to restyle their clothes never, ever happens here."

The changes made by Ms. Bianchetti were, in fact, duly modest. Streamlining a heavy folded wool robe, she also adapted its color to accord with records of St. Francis from the 13th century. But it was her replacement of two small slits on the garment with a pair of shirt-style pockets that apparently tickled a bemused Italian press.

Catholics pray at site of killing

Five members of a local Catholic church said a rosary at a Mobil station where the sniper killed one of his first victims on Oct 3.They attributed the latest development to the legendary miraculous powers of the Virgin of Guadeloupe, a fold-up gilt-framed portrait of whom they propped against a gas pump."We've been having novenas and masses every day. We decided to go to all the (shootings) sites and take her with us," said Grace Sese."Evil will never win," she added.

Meanwhile...across the globe...

Look. I'm really glad and hopeful about this morning's arrests, but I have watched the news channels all morning for news of the Moscow theater hostage situation, but in vain. I wish we could take a 3-minute break from the video of buildings, highways and cars, and get an update on that already bad, and potentially horrendous situation.

Robert Trexler, editor of the bulletin for the New York C.S. Lewis Society, sends this link to an excerpt from a new book about the Harry Potter series, along with these comments:

I have read the entire book in manuscript and I feel very strongly about its importance. It is insightful, spiritually illuminating, and fun to
read. The writer is clearly immersed in CS Lewis and the Inklings, and shares with JK Rowling an advanced degree in Classical Languages and Literature (Granger has a degree in classical languages from The University of Chicago.)

The section where Mr Granger explains the hidden meaning of various names and words in the Potter books, often based on latin, is a great piece of detective work. He also has a wonderful section which explains the principles of symbolist literature drawing from his background as an Eastern Orthodox believer. Aside from its relevance to the Potter books, it serves as a primer for any understanding of the sacramental and incarnational nature of good Christian fiction. His explanation of Platonic theories will aid in the understanding of Lewis and Tolkien as much as the JK Rowling books. There are superb plot summaries which document the Christian perspective of JK Rowling as an author. There is a fun section where he speculates on the events forthcoming in future novels, which should be of interest to the die-hard Potter enthusiast (I think kids would actually enjoy reading this section and skip over parts one and two which deal
with major themes, influences and general literary theory.)

Of the many books available on the Potter phenomena, this is the only one which takes it seriously as a modern day inspiration from the Inkling genre. Nothing else has been written which addresses all the questions which Granger is perceptible enough to ask. And few people have the classical and Christian background to provide satifying answers.

Law says he might meet with VOTF

In a further softening of his position, Cardinal Bernard F. Law yesterday told about 400 priests that he hoped to sit down with leaders of Voice of the Faithful, the lay group that has arisen out of the church's sexual abuse crisis and with which he has feuded, said priests who attended a meeting with the cardinal. Law made the remarks at St. Camillus Church in a wide-ranging session that covered topics ranging from his decision not to resign in the midst of the crisis to the rights of priests accused of sexual misconduct. The meeting, which was his second in two days with archdiocesan priests, was closed to the media. But in remarks afterward, the cardinal said the assembled priests who spoke had kind words for the Voice of the Faithful.''I would say the basic thrust of the comments was to encourage on my part a more open and positive approach,'' said Law. At the earlier meeting on Tuesday, most priests spoke positively about the organization, while a few voiced negative comments.

I think he should, and often. Keeping them totally outside only gives them more power in the public relations game.

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