Saturday, March 1, 2003


Mardi Gras/Shrove Tuesday/Carnival ("farewell to the flesh")/Fasnacht ("night of the fast") links:

From Ye Olde Catholic Encyclopedia

From Domestic Church (with recipes)

Epicurious chimes in

Fasnacht in Appalachia: Helvetica, WV, population 25 - except on Fasnacht.

American Catholic sums it up

On the Pope beat:

Poland snatches up Pope's new book of poetry

- Pope John Paul II's first poetic work since he became pontiff in 1978 is a best seller in his native Poland even before hitting the bookstores, the Polish publisher said. Buyers have already placed orders for about 80 percent of the 300,000 first-edition copies of "The Roman Triptych," said Pawel Piotrowski, sales manager for the WAM publishing house, which is distributing the book....John Paul's meditation on religion written after his emotional journey to his homeland last summer will be published in Poland and at the Vatican on Thursday.

Pope reminisces about wartime in Poland

After reading a speech to a gathering of seminarians, the ailing 82-year-old pontiff put aside the text and said he had something he wanted to tell the young men.Speaking off the cuff for about 10 minutes in a strong, clear voice, John Paul said he was marveling how, as a young man, he was a laborer in a chemical factory in southern Poland while secretly a seminarian, and how now he is pontiff, speaking to seminarians.

Pope warns new Archbishop of world on the brink

The Pope warned the Archbishop of Canterbury yesterday that he was beginning his ministry at a "painful and tense moment in history" with the world standing on the brink of "yet another war".In a rare personal message, the Pope sent Dr Rowan Williams his "prayerful best wishes" following the Archbishop's enthronement in Canterbury Cathedral on Thursday.

By the way, here's the text of the already roundly scolded Williams' sermon at his enthronment. The famed Fr. Wilson forwarded it to me, and I agree with his assessment: "marvelous"

The gospel reading we've just heard is about knowing and telling secrets, discovering a truth not everyone sees.

In one way, nothing is hidden: Jesus has just been talking about what happens to the local towns that have seen his miracles and heard his words and yet haven't changed.

It's as though the people in these towns haven't realised there is any mystery about who Jesus is; they look at what he does and they listen to what he says, yet they treat it as something they can think about at arms' length, an interesting phenomenon that has nothing really to do with how they live and die.

And Jesus rounds on them and says: "I don't want your idle curiosity or your patronage. There is a secret that you haven't a clue about - and the ones who know that secret are the ones who don't try to protect themselves by staying at a safe distance."

And he might equally round on us, in what used to be called "Christendom" in the West, and say: "You have seen everything, the truth has been displayed, and yet you too react with boredom or polite curiosity. It's all a bit too familiar. Perhaps it's time for you to listen to some strangers."

Vatican artifact exhibit opens in Houston:

Hundreds of priceless items from 2,000 years of the Roman Catholic papacy, many of them stored in Vatican collections and not normally seen even in Rome, go on display this weekend for the first time in the United States. The exhibition, titled "St. Peter and the Vatican: The Legacy of the Popes," makes its debut Sunday at the Houston Museum of Natural Scienceand continues through July 27. "If you came to the Vatican, two-thirds of these things you would never see because they are in storerooms or archives or sacristies that are never open to the public," said the Rev. Allen Duston, international director of the Office of Patrons of the Arts in the Vatican Museums. "So this is a very unique opportunity to see many of the things that are kept in the Vatican that have been there, in some cases, for nearly 2,000 years."

From the Chronicle of Higher Education:

A summary of a most interesting book, Judaism and the Enlightenment by young scholar Adam Sutcliffe which argues that animosity to Judaism was at the heart of the Enlightenment worldview:

In what Mr. Sutcliffe describes as a "barbed embrace," early Enlightenment thinkers simultaneously idealized and repudiated Judaism, an attraction-repulsion that surfaced repeatedly. Indeed, Mr. Sutcliffe writes, philo-Semitism and Judeophobia were "frequently intertwined in the same text and even in the same sentence." Paradoxically, however, as Enlightenment thought became increasingly hostile to religion, it focused on Judaism as the source of Christendom. To attack Christianity at its roots, thinkers such as John Toland and Voltaire turned their critical ire on its Jewish foundations.

For the champions of the new Empire of Reason, Judaism came to represent everything they were against.

To them, Judaism embodied tribalism, scripturalism, legalism, and irrational adherence to tradition. Where the Enlightenment upheld reason, Judaism wallowed in myth. The Enlightenment stood for the universal, Judaism for the particular. Enlightenment meant cosmopolitanism, Judaism insularity. The Enlightenment promised progress, Judaism threatened atavism. In short, the Enlightenment came to define itself, Mr. Sutcliffe argues, as the antithesis of all things Jewish.

A few hundred of Stalin's victims still stuck in the gulag

How AIDS is depopulating southern Africa - and one view on why.

A superb article from the Guardian on Waugh and Greene by the creator of a radio drama about the two

During my research, at least two well-read friends worried for me that it was futile to attempt a double drama about Greene and Waugh because it was simply not possible that either could ever have tolerated the other's presence. But this proved to be rather touchingly untrue. A friendship stretched from the 1930s -when Greene invited Waugh to write for his magazine Night and Day, a short-lived "English New Yorker" - until Waugh's death in 1966. In one of the final letters from Combe Florey, the usually formal and reticent correspondent tells the other novelist: "I am deeply fond of you." ...

At one point - tantalisingly - the writers almost collaborated. In the early 1950s, Greene was approached to write the screenplay for a mooted American movie of Brideshead Revisited . A letter from Waugh expresses the hope that the project might succeed: Greene, after The Third Man, was one of the most admired screenwriters of the period. We must await the eventual publication of Greene's correspondence to know why he rejected the commission, but it seems a reasonable guess that he found the source material too Catholic for him.

Crime Beat

The man accused of shooting and killing a priest and a parishioner a year ago on Long Island was ruled competent to stand trial.

The race for Bishop of the Year promises to heat up mightily this week as

Bishop Adamec of Altoona-Johnstown is undoubtedly called on to defend his unique vocations recruitment technique of silencing priests who disagree with him


Bishop McCormack eagerly awaits the public release of 9,000 pages of files from the DA's office.

Hmmm..who will win?

Boston contemplates more past sins: Medeiros and Dailey writing letters of recommendation for an admitted misbehaving priest

San Antonio comes right out and asks for direct contributions to cover a settlement (It's a link to a TV news story, so it's sketchy)

Cardinal George has an odd houseguest and Domenico Bettinelli wonders about it.

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