Thursday, July 10, 2003
This will be my last posting (unless something really big happens tonight) before we set off for Anchorage. We have a long trip ahead (we leave the house at 5:30 am, and land in Anchorage after 8:00 pm our time, and that is with only a two-hour lay-over in Seattle).
Man, the stuff you have to go through just to get away for a vacation! Yesterday, Gaspar the Wonder Cat needed to go to the vet for an update on his shots, so that he could stay at the cat hotel down the road a piece. Hundreds of bucks have poured out, and we haven't even left yet! No wonder the tourism industry is hurting. Who can afford to take real vacations anymore?
I may try to get access to blog while we are out there. This isn't a see-the-sights trip, but a visit-family-and-friends trip. So I may be able to use someone's computer to post a few blogs from Alaska. There is also the Loussac Library in Anchorage. But Saturday and Sunday are pretty much spoken for (Saturday: rest up and a party at my father-in-law's, and Sunday: a day at the cabin near Big Lake of one of my brothers-in-law, where they don't have a computer). So I probably won't be able to post until Monday. I also get really jet-lagged travelling to Anchoarge. Once I'm there, the lack of night at this time of year really throws my body clock off, so it is almost certain that I will be uncharacteristically silent Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
Enjoy the weekend. Next time you hear from me, I'll be comfortably on the outside of a New Sagaya/City Market's chocolate croissant.
Have a great weekend and God bless!
Wednesday, July 09, 2003
The defense in the Boston pervert priest cases has agreed, at least for the time being, that it will forgo deposing the therapists who have been counselling victims.
The move comes just after Thomas Hannigan was appointed to represent Archbishop-designate O'Malley in these cases. According to other attorneys familiar with recent discussions, Hannigan seems to have become de facto lead counsel. That is all to the good, in my opinion. The Rogers firm never seemed up to the job, as far as I could see. Ropes & Gray will serve much better. They may also have a better rapport with the insurance carriers, who will have to agree to pony up a lot of the cash, if there is to be a settlement.
We are headed for Anchorage on Friday morning, in part so that Mrs. F. can escape the New England summer heat (her family moved to Anchorage just before she was born, and she lived there until we got married, so she is used to summer days of 62 degrees with very little humidity). Yet, yesterday it was 89 degrees at Big Lake (where we will be spending a day this weekend) and 84 in Anchorage itself. Fortunately, the temperatures are supposed to get back to normal this weekend.
Our latest aircraft carrier is to join the fleet in just a few days. She is an improved Nimitz-class nuclear-powered carrier. One of the Forrestal or Kitty Hawk-class conventional carriers built in the 1950s will be deactivated (Heaven forbid that our naval air power grow while we are war!). If memory serves, the conventional carrier that is being sent into reserve (left to rot unless there is a huge emergency) served in the Iraq War.
While the older carriers are somewhat obsolete by our standards, with a little investment in updated electronics, they are fine. They are far better than anything anyone else has. With an aircraft carrier, it is the planes that it launches that are the important thing. It is not unusual to see very old major warships still serving. Recall that HMS Victory was laid down in 1759. Construction was stopped, then restarted in 1775. She was Nelson's flagship in 1805, and served actively into the 1820s (and is still in drydock today as a museum).
May the USS Ronald Reagan serve her country as well as her namesake did. If so, freedom is safe.
Tuesday, July 08, 2003
Patrick McSorley, the Geoghan victim who almost drowned last month at Pope John Paul II Park has been arrested after being found in a motel room with others and drug paraphanalia.
You can take this information in one of several different directions.
*See what that wretch Geoghan drove this poor man to do. Please, get him effective counselling.
*The McSorley family has a history of self-destructive behaviour that predates Geoghan (including suicides). This is just part of that playing out in this poor man's life. Maybe the Geoghan experience had something to do with it, maybe not. He needs help, and not just money.
*Geoghan and other perverts preyed upon those who were already from backgrounds that might lead to this sort of thing. This just makes Geoghan all the more infamous. Get McSorley and the others some effective help, before these vulnerable people get worse.
*And the Bronson Havard/Cardinal Mahony "Head So Far In the Sand He Can See Australia" line, represented by one ubiquitous commenter. "See McSorley is just a drugged out loser. You can't rely on anything he has to say. He has no credibility. All the other so-called victims are the same. Free Father Geoghan! Pervert priest crisis? There is no pervert priest crisis. There never were any pervert priests. This is all being blown out of proportion by a biased media bent of destroying the Church. There is nothing wrong with the Church at all. "
Me? I think it's sad. Try to remember to pray for McSorley and all the victims tonight.
Besides, McSorley's credibility is no longer the issue. The Archdiocese settled with him a while ago. They must have thought his claims were credible enough to settle, to not want to confront his evidence in court. That says a lot about the relative credibility of McSorley and Geoghan. But since his case is settled, he is already entitled to all the psychological counselling on the Archdiocese's dime he will get. If he is getting any, it isn't good enough.
Thomas Mackubin Owens, in today's National Review On Line, discusses the current situation in Iraq. He is correct in asserting that a guerilla campaign without substantial conventional support usually does not work. Think what would have happened to the Spanish guerillas without Wellington's Army, or what would have happened to the Viet Cong without continuous support from the NVA. There is no conventional force to cover and protect the pro-Saddam guerillas. Once we do manage to introduce Saddam to lots of hot lead or the business end of a guided missile, that will be the end of the guerilla movement. That is an outcome (along with doing the same thing to Osama bin Laden) that we cannot dismiss and should spend more effort and resources to bring about.
He comes close to making a point I have wondered about from time to time. Why has the Administration backed away from undertaking a relatively minor military build-up in order to make fighting the war on terrorism a little easier and faster?
If we could afford an Army of 16 active divisions, a Navy with 16 carriers, and more fighter wings than we have now in 1988, why can't we afford the same force level now with a much larger national economic base to draw on? Would it not be better for the national security to have adequate reserves when we need to commit a few divisions to a single theater of operations? If China had launched an attack on Taiwan, or North Korea against South Korea (or both) while we were busy with Iraq, we would have been in trouble with our current force levels.
Why has the Administration been so reluctant to undertake something of a national wartime mobilization, at least so that the population feels that there is a war effort to support? Even if the extra divisions did nothing but patrol the Mexican border for incoming terrorists, they would still be useful.
Chicago Cubs manager Dusty Baker, who is black, said recently that black and Hispanic players can endure the heat better than white players can, and that white playrs can endure the cold better than black and Hispanic players.
There is no question that if Baker had been white, and had said something like that about black players, he would have been fired and held up to public ridicule like Jimmy the Greek and Al Campanis.
What he said, however, has some basis in fact, though it is not a given. Many white people, Mrs. F. and I included, do not do well in the heat, and require air conditioning once the temperature gets above 80 degrees or the humidity climbs. Consider where our ancestors hung out. My family has been in New England for 80 years now. But before that, we were in rainy, cool County Clare for the Lord only knows how long. Mrs. F's family moved up to Anchorage in the early 1960s, and before that were in the mid-west for a hundred or more years, and before that, various parts of the British Isles and Germany. We don't exactly come from tropical climates. But there are some white people who thrive in the heat. Most black and Hispanic people prefer the warmer weather to the colder, at least in my experience.
So, though a white manager would have been fired for making the same kind of comment, should this really be an issue? No. Nobody should be made a public mockery of for making a comment that may be true in his experience, though it may not be supported by scientific data. And there is nothing vicious in what Baker said. We as people have a right to note how things work in the world around us, and to rely on the wisdom of our ancestors, and make judgments accordingly. We are not Vulcans. We are men. Let us stop pretending that the only statements that are valid are those with sterling scientific proof.
Requiescant in pace.
Attorney Thomas Hannigan, a partner at Ropes & Gray who Archbishop-designate O'Malley worked with in settling pervert priest cases in the Fall River Diocese, will begin to take part in settlement discussions this week. This has led to speculation that the Rogers Firm is about to be supplanted as the primary legal representative of the Archdiocese in this matter.
Changing horses in midstream would be controversial, and would lead to further delays as new counsel get up to speed on the state of the negotiations and the evidence. More likely, Hannigan will call the shots from the background, letting Rogers continue as the titular head of the team. It is a very clever way to put pressure on Rogers and the insurance companies. A speedy and just settlement of this matter is in the interests of everyone except the insurance companies and the defense counsel.
A now-retired partner at Ropes & Gray, whose name, if I recall correctly was Ed Hannify, represented the Archdiocese for many years until the Rogers Firm captured the account during Cardinal Law's tenure. So Hannigan's appearance in this matter may signal a return of the Archdiocese's business to the firm that has traditionally represented in over the last 40+ years.
Monday, July 07, 2003
You could sort of see this coming. The man is no Rush Limbaugh. He is anything but smooth, or a fuzzy little ball of fluff. He is a very angy guy, who makes some valid points about the need to protect our borders, language, and culture. He stepped over the line, and got canned for it. Better screening of calls would have prevented this problem. That is a failing I have heard on his radio show as well.
There is a very interesting thread at neighbor Domenico Bettinelli's.
A Texas pastor is suspended by his bishop because he said a weekend's worth of Tridentine Latin Masses. The bishop has only authorized a single Latin Mass in the diocese (this is Houston/Galveston). This priest, a Father Zigrang, has asked for permission to do a Latin Mass several times before, but the bishop has only authorized him to say the old Mass for himself in private in the rectory.
Not only did the bishop suspend this priest, he is recommending psychological counselling, since we all know that anyone who is "rigid, traditionalist, orthodox," has got to have a few screws loose (giving me new meaning when I contemplate Scrooge's exclamation, "I'll retire to Bedlam!"). Gee, psychiatrists used as a weapon against orthodox priests. Where have we heard that before? Michael Rose, call your office, you have just been vindicated.
Obviously, Father Zigrang was tired of being ignored, and decided to present the bishop with a fait accompli. It did not work as he thought it might, with the bishop ignoring the problem (obviously, perverts can run loose, liberal priests can preach whatever nonsense comes into their skulls from their latest reading of the Gospel according to Masters & Johnson, liturgists can destroy the sanctity of the Mass, but let a conservative actually follow what the Pope said about giving the Latin Mass a generous and wide application, and the full weight of the diocese must be exerted at once to crush him).
If he had planned his little treason more carefully, he could have done this in stages, and might have gotten away with it for a while. His undoing was springing this all on his parish without warning or preparation. The guitar band was outraged. The EECs went crying right to the bishop.
Had he slowly edged his parish towards this little by little over a year or so, liberals would have gone elsewhere, and conservatives would have started coming into his parish from outside to attend his Masses.
There is so much you can do within the framework of the Novus Ordo Mass (both within the Mass and outside it):
a) Get rid of guitar Masses.
b) Dispense with EECs
c) Recruit only altar boys
d) Face East, towards the Tabernacle (presumably behind the new altar)
e) Say the Novus Ordo in Latin
f) Have the common sung responses done in their original languages
g) Banish Marty Haugen & David Haas from your music minister's repertoire
h) Ask that all parishioners kneel during the Eucharistic Prayer, and after Communion
i) Suggest that all parishioners receive on the tongue, and kneeling at the rail
j) Train your altar boys properly
k) Encourage parishioners to dress appropriately for Mass
l) Discourage children being allowed to eat, play with toys, speak out, or run wild at Mass.
m) Don't include the Sign of Peace
n) Offer Adoration and Benediction after Mass as appropriate
o) Head off any effort to modernize the interior of the church
p) Preach Christ and Him Crucified and nothing more
q) Frequently encourage people to attend confession in the confessionals
r) Suggest that laity go beyond the bare minimum for pre-Communion fasting and abstinence
s) Encourage the development of reliable groups practising traditional devotions, like the Rosary or group discussion of spiritually useful texts.
I bet you can think of a few more things to add that Father Zigrang could have done to improve the quality of the Masses at his parish without suddenly springing the Tridentine Rite on his parishioners.
In conflicts like this one between a priest and his bishop, the priest is bound to lose, unless he is cautious and gradual in his approach. Poor Father Zigrang sounds like he just got his back up and decided to take matters into his own hands. Can't do that when you are under the authority of a bishop who will order you to repudiate what you have done and not do it again.
Mrs. F. and I are bound for Anchorage early, early AM this Friday (July 11th) and will stop off in Seattle on the way back to visit with friends (and hopefully catch up with the priest who married us, who is now Prior of the Dominican community that runs the parish that the inestimably valuable Mark Shea attends, Blessed Sacrament). We will be back home late on Sunday, July 20th.
Since I don't have a lap top, I doubt very much that I will be blogging a great deal while away. Maybe I can work out something at the Anchorage Public Library. And blogging for the rest of this week may be catch-as-catch-can, as we have a lot to do before heading for Anchorage.
This is getting scary. Over the weekend, Buddy Ebsen, song and dance man mentioned in the Great Gatsby, star of the Beverly Hillbillies and Barnaby Jones, died at the age of 96. Requiescat in pace.
More elderly celebrities have died in the last month than in the preceeding four. Another icon of my childhood passes from the scene.
Of couse Buddy Ebsen's name, like Buddy Hackett's, came up in that discussion Mrs. F and I had a week or two ago. Syndicated Boston radio talk show host (and Boston Herald columnist) Howie Carr has a regular feature called The Death Pool, in which callers guess which elderly or at-risk celebrity will be next. Sometimes, it goes six months to a year without anyone picked dying. The last month has had a flood of "winners." It is just the law of averages catching up, but it seems bizarre.
Sunday, July 06, 2003
We saw Terminator 3: The Rise of the Machines yesterday. The special effects were better than in the other two movies. Some of the cheap-movie qualities that the other two had were improved here. The ending is kind of depressing, but I won't provide any spoilers. Not a bad way to spend an hour and a half away from the heat.