Monday, June 2

Bad - no - dreadful news for the film of Brideshead Revisited

Andrew Davies, noted for the controversy over his adaptation of Tipping The Velvet, with its lesbian themes, is writing the script about the dreaming spires of Oxford and effete upper-class Englishmen. He told Screen International that he had a "darker, more heterosexual" approach to the novel than the television series.Instead of Charles Ryder and Sebastian Flyte's relationship, Davies is concentrating on the doomed love affair between Charles and Julia Flyte.

His script explores how Roman Catholicism destroys their relationship and families.Davies is Britain's most prominent television costume drama writer.
His credits include Pride and Prejudice, Vanity Fair, Dr Zhivago and the screenplay for the worldwide hit Bridget Jones's Diary.He said: "I am much less enamoured of all that Oxford snobbery than some people."Of his script, the first draft of which is finished, Davies said: "It is written from the point of view of someone who does not believe in the religious themes as Waugh did. If God can be said to exist in my version, he would be the villain."



See Jesus watching you get your teeth cleaned!

Thanks to Nancy Nall for the ....inspirational link.

Three brothers celebrate a combined 100 years as priests!

A lengthy New Yorker article on a psychiatric institution called the Institute for Living and various Catholic dioceses in the Northeast

Driving from the St. Therese Shrine up to Bloomingdale last week, we saw a billboard by the side of the road. A view of the earth from space, with these words:

Peace: Because Good Planets are Hard to Find
-From the Catholic Sisters in your area.

Now, this really torqued me. Sisters in my area, please don't come to my parish crying poor for the Retired Religious Fund if you're going to be spending thousands on completely useless billboards. Sisters in my area, you might not have so much trouble lowering your average age from what...66? ....if you were associated with the very practical, concrete noble sacrificial work that built the Church in this country and brought countless poor the education and health care that no one else was able or willing to provide, rather than vague statements of good will that any country club Republican or limousine liberal woman, safe in her secure life, could sign onto without paying any kind of price at all.

And my brain hurts even more when I try to imagine the meeting - scratch that - meetings that you know without a doubt were conducted with great seriousness and purpose and self-importance and conviction of the movement of Sophia in their midst to plan this thing...

Dallas-area priest at the center of controversy resigns.

A Frisco priest accused of raping a nun 20 years ago resigned from his parish Sunday. Monsignor Ernesto C. Villaroya of St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church resigned through a letter that was read aloud during Sunday Masses, church officials said. Mr. Villaroya could not be reached for comment. "Because of the situation which has developed, he feels in conscience that he needs to remove himself from St. Francis of Assisi parish in Frisco," Bishop Charles Grahmann said in a statement that was posted Sunday on the Texas Catholic Web site, adding that he had visited with the priest. "He has asked for an extended leave of absence to think and pray about this experience," Bishop Grahmann said. "His request has been granted."



O'Brien of Phoenix admits cover-up

Bishop Thomas J. O'Brien has acknowledged that he covered up allegations of sexual abuse by priests for decades and will relinquish some of his power as head of the Phoenix Diocese to avoid possible criminal indictment, The Arizona Republic has learned.O'Brien's dramatic admission and his decision to surrender some authority came in a five-page agreement the bishop signed last month when Maricopa County Attorney Rick Romley threatened to bring him before a grand jury.

The legally binding document is one of the most candid confessions by any bishop in the country that official church policy endangered children and allowed some priests to continue molesting minors long after their sexual histories were known.O'Brien signed the agreement twice in the presence of his lawyers, acknowledging his actions both as an individual and as head of the Phoenix Diocese.

John Allen in The Word from Rome describes a brief conversation with Cardinal Arinze:

I had the pleasure of attending a reception on the terrace of a Rome hotel on Monday, May 26, hosted by Georgetown University’s President John DeGioia for alumni and friends of the university. I was especially struck by the presence of Cardinal Francis Arinze, since the Nigerian prelate’s last experience of Georgetown was a bit rocky. Arinze had been invited to speak at Georgetown’s May 17 commencement ceremony on the subject of Christian-Muslim dialogue. In the course of his remarks, Arinze spoke about threats to the family in modern culture, triggering protest.....I jokingly said to Arinze at the reception that he was brave to show up at another Georgetown event. He smiled graciously and said, in effect, that the affair was no big deal. “Had I known what effect it was going to have, I would have used another word,” he said.

Though I didn’t press him, my guess is that Arinze did not mean to attack homosexual persons. In Vatican parlance, when one mentions homosexuality in connection with the family, the reference is usually to issues such as same-sex unions and the definition of marriage. One can debate whether they amount to “mockery” of the family, but this is not hate speech.



The NYTimes on the Vatican's new Latin dictionary

The Vatican Latin Foundation (Fondatum Latinitas), which put the book together, is already working on a new edition, due out in a few years, according to Pietro Villa, an official with the foundation. "There are so many new words to add, mainly technological words or those dealing with information," Mr. Villa said.

Indeed, the dictionary gives Latin words for every aspect of life. You can order a meal in Latin. Want lasagna? Ask for "pasta segmentata." A hamburger? Grill an "isicium Hamburgense." A hot dog? "Pastillum botello fartum."

Or you can talk politics: A "conformitatis osor" (hippie) and a "communista" (communist) butt heads with a "novi Hitleriani motus assecla" (neo-Nazi).

Hitleriani? What kind of Latin is that? Call it made-up Latin, just like "iazensis musica" ("music of the jazz variety"). "Iazensis" may look Latin, but "i" is the "j" of Latin.

"This is essentially an admission of defeat," said R. J. Tarrant, a professor of Latin language and literature at Harvard. "When all else fails, stick a Latin ending on a word and move on."



Six Feet Under anyone?

Satisfying? Frustrating?

What about the role of Nathan, Sr. in each of the character's consciences?

Nate's behavior? Rico's?

Claire seeing her aborted son in her dream of the afterlife? Her facial expressions then and every point up to it when confronted with her baby niece? Her uncontrollable sobs at the wedding?

And what about that beginning? I liked it very much, because it resonates with one of the themes and fascinations of my life - the impact of the slightest decision on broader events, and the interconnectedness of those decisions..it also reinforces one of the themes of the series which is...death is always just around the corner. How do we live in the face of that fact?

We made it through all the festivities....David's graduation on Friday night - impressive because they got around 250 kids graduated in about an hour. Older folk are usually distressed in attending modern high school graduations because most of them, despite the administrations' best efforts, can be pretty noisy affairs. In the past ten years I've been a regular at three schools' graduations: a small diocesan Catholic school, a medium-sized Jesuit prep school, and a large public high school. All three were the same in that respect. Administrators sternly remind everyone to keep their traps shut and their airhorns under their seats, and it works...for a while. What happened the other night, I believe, is that the threat to throw noisemakers out of the ceremony backfired, because that particular threat was coupled with the statement (on the tickets) that no one would be allowed to leave before the ceremony was over. So...you want to leave early? Stand up and scream when your kid/friend's name is called, and be motioned out. Not that the "don't come late/leave early" thing was being stringently enforced anyway.

But it's over, and my second offspring has flown away..he's going to Virginia Tech, where his father works, and will be (already is, as of 6pm last night) living with him for at least the first year.

The other great obstacle to calm and peace this weekend was Katie's dance recital, with the added complication of a friend's birthday sleepover Friday night, which began during the 4-hour dress rehearsal, at a high school way on the other side of town....She got everywhere she needed to be, and tapped her way to glory Saturday night just fine.

Yesterday, we all went to Mass together for the last time for a while, and were treated to a visiting, retired priest who gave a fairly focused, straightforward homily - pointing out the dearth of art in our bare-bones church (he had a right to - he was stationed there 40 years ago. It's not barebones in the 1970's hotel lobby style. It's barebones in that late 1950's cool marble, moderne style - The Eucharist by Eames - the same way St. Joseph's Oratory in Montreal is), but then taking us to the conclusion that the point of the day (Ascension...sort of) is that no matter what, Christ is present. Simple, uncomplicated, unforced. Thank you, Father.

We spend much of the rest of the day ripping up the carpet from David's room (with me raging about idiots who insist on covering up perfectly good wood floors by nailing and stapling dirt-catching, dust-trapping carpets onto them) and starting the planning for Katie to move in so Joseph can then move out of Michael's study and into his very own room, with an afternoon break for Katie, Joseph and I to go see a local production of Smokey Joe's Cafe which featured Katie's piano teacher as part of the band, which is placed on stage. She liked it, and for the first act, so did Joseph, who sat there stunned by the experience without moving for a very long time (that happens when you're in the front row..)

So now we're here...Katie's last day of school is today, we have to start cleaning her room, Joseph's babysitter is on vacation this week, we're going back to Ca-go next week for the Catholic Marketing Networkshow, and somehow, somewhere in all of that, I do indeed have work to do...

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