Monday, December 9

Well, now.

The suspect arrested in the shooting death of the Cleveland priest is (was??) a seminarian.

Sopranos viewers?

The Slate psychoanalysts' roundtable has the usual interesting insights, , including Ron Rosenbaum's assessment, which pretty much nails it:

It was interesting that tonight Johnny Sack expressed his bitter disappointment at the hit on Carmine being called off with a version of the most famous quotation from Macbeth—how he'd have to go back to the routine he hated "tomorrow and tomorrow, creeping in this petty pace," rather than the dramatic climax he'd longed for. I wonder if here the writers weren't surfacing their dissatisfaction at the problem of pacing and repacing tomorrow and tomorrow a series that had meant to come to the end of its arc after three seasons—but was extended two more (the much hyped EXTENDED finale an emblem of the arbitrariness of the extension process). I wonder if the writers felt they'd made a kind of Faustian bargain: two more years of fame and fortune at the cost of the beautiful taut understatement that made it so appealing, creative, and original. Turning to the caricature and melodrama they'd previously eschewed because they had to tease out two more seasons. Taking their anger at themselves for this bargain out on us, the audience, by manipulating us so crudely and obviously, withholding any closure on all the subplots, and depending on sensational moments like the severed head. (A symbol of the way they were cutting off the intelligence, i.e. the head, from the body of the show?) Starting up subplots only to discard them, giving Carmela her third extended fantasy affair tease, making Ralphie a second-rate parody of Richie Aprile. Only Janice I feel has really grown as a character into something more beautifully, comically diabolical than one could have hoped. She is truly the gangster of love. And there were some sharp moments with Paulie: To me the high point of the season was the weird moment when he was staring at the painting of Tony and Pie-O-My that he'd had altered to put a ridiculous-looking hat on Tony's head.

Yes, the writers finally gave Carmela her decisive moment and it was powerfully rendered, and it was deeply affecting to see how much they both could hurt each other. But they'd been withholding this moment for so long, for four seasons, it couldn't help but get to you. Otherwise, I don't know. I woke up this morning with a really bad flu and spent most of the day in bed watching tapes of the first 10 episodes from Season One, and I have to say; yes, I am a "Declinist." It was better. And I'm not sure I care that much about watching a final season all about whether Tony and Carmela get back together.

Another good quote from another participant:

Edie Falco's incomparable acting aside, what the hell did last night's show have to do with The Sopranos (and here I agree with Ron's "declinist" proclivities)? This show is unraveling its video tape all over the Jersey shore line. I must confess that as a heretofore avid fan I am not sure what I am watching anymore. ...

I've never thought very highly of Trent Lott for a variety of reasons, including, on a non-political note, his praise of the Cider House Rules.

Now, we have another reason.

What an idiot.

An expanding story from Cleveland: A priest died in a rectory fire. Now, it's been established that he was killed by a gunshot wound before the fire.

From Maine, an excellent column taking two reputedly pro-life groups to task: the GOP and the Catholic Church

The first point relates to a mailing that the Republican National Congressional Committee on behalf of the GOP candidate for a Congressional seat:

A reader has forwarded to me a mailing from the Republican National Congressional Committee on Raye's behalf. It says, "Who protects the right to choose? Not Mike Michaud. (the Democrat in the race) Anti-Choice. Anti-Women's Rights. Mike Michaud is a typical politician. He opposes the right to choose and seems to think politicians should legislate women's health."

From Newsday: Brooklyn priests suggesting that they have a role in selecting their next bishop.

The Herald's account:

As of last night, the sources say, Law was himself uncertain which path to take - resignation or bankruptcy.Personally, he is said to be eager to resign given the rebellious mood of his clergy and laity, and the humiliating pounding he has just taken over newly revealed church files.``There is no question he will ask his friends at the Holy See about his resignation,'' a source who spoke to Law yesterday said.But Law's fealty to Rome, the sources say, would require that he stay on in Boston if the Vatican tells him it is unwise to plunge a new archbishop into the U.S. bishopric at the epicenter of Catholicism's sex-abuse scandal.``What man in his right mind wants to step into this mess?'' said a source. ``Remember that replacing an archbishop is a yearlong process - why not have Law handle the dirty work until then?''Therefore, the sources say, Law will ask for a papal go-ahead to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. That formal step is necessary for the church to file, and sources say Law has come to the belief bankruptcy is a tidy mechanism for forcing what he calls ``a global settlement'' of the church abuse litigation.

So, what's he doing there?

Law is seeking advice from a number of church leaders about how to manage the extraordinary sexual abuse crisis that is engulfing the Archdiocese of Boston, according to the official, who asked not to be named. Last night, an American reporter spotted Law having dinner at a restaurant in Rome with Bishop James Harvey, the highest-ranking American on Pope John Paul II's personal staff.The official said he expects Law to resign eventually as archbishop, a post he has held since 1984, but not until he has resolved the legal and financial crises facing the local church.

Law's spokeswoman, Donna M. Morrissey, confirmed yesterday afternoon that Law is in Rome, but said she could not provide any details about the duration or purpose of his trip. She could not say when Law would return from Rome. Lawyers for clergy abuse victims said the cardinal is scheduled to be deposed again Dec. 17.

The cardinal's staff had for days offered no information about Law's departure from Boston, telling reporters that he was expected to appear at a Catholic Charities fund-raiser at the Four Seasons Hotel on Friday night, and telling the staff at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross it was uncertain as late as Friday whether the cardinal would celebrate Mass on Sunday. In the bulletin printed for yesterday's Mass, Law was listed as the celebrant and homilist.

Officials at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., where Law is chairman of the board of trustees, said they were under the impression as late as Friday afternoon that Law would be attending a board meeting that begins today and runs through Wednesday. But yesterday a university spokesman said Law had notified the university's president that he would not make the meeting.

At virtually the same time that Morrissey was telling reporters at a news conference yesterday in the basement of the Cathedral of the Holy Cross that she could not say why Law did not show up for Mass, the Vatican correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter, John L. Allen Jr., spotted the cardinal dining at Ristorante Cecilia Metella, an upscale hideaway on the outskirts of Rome where high-ranking church officials often go to have discreet conversations.


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