Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Peter Maurin - Prostitution of the Press

Prostitution of the Press

Modern newspapermen
try to give people
what they want.
ought to give people
what they need.
To give people
what they want
but should not have
is to pander.
To give people
what they need.
or in other terms,
to make them want
what they ought to want,
is to foster.
To pander
to the bad in men
is to make men
inhuman to men.
To foster the good in men
is to make men
human to men.
(from "Prostitution")

Pax et bonum

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Peter Maurin - the unused dynamite of the Church


Writing about the Catholic Church,
a radical writer says:
“Rome will have to do more
than to play a waiting game;
she will have to use
some of the dynamite
inherent in her message.”
To blow the dynamite
of a message
is the only way
to make the message dynamic.
If the Catholic Church
is not today
the dominant social dynamic force,
it is because Catholic scholars
have failed to blow the dynamite
of the Church.
Catholic scholars
have taken the dynamite
of the Church,
have wrapped it up
in nice phraseology,
placed it in an hermetic container
and sat on the lid.
It is about time
to blow the lid off
so the Catholic Church
may again become
the dominant social dynamic force.

Pax et bonum

Monday, August 18, 2014

St. John XXIII - "preserve the flame of enthusiasm"

Prayer by Pope St. John XXIII
O Jesus, come back into our society, our family life, our souls, and reign there as our peaceful sovereign. Enlighten with the splendor of faith and the charity of your tender heart the souls of those who work for the good of the people, for your poor. Impart in them your own spirit, preserving the flame of enthusiasm ever alight in their hearts.  

Pax et bonum

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Pope Pius XII saved Jews

It's amazing how the propaganda against Pope Pius XII and his alleged lack of efforts to save Jews continues to survive despite increasing amount of documentation proving how much he actually did do. By the estimate from the Pave the Way Foundation, his efforts helped to save more than 800,000 Jews.

I was at a presentation today at the St. Padre Pio Chapel at which the head of the Foundation, Gary Krupp, discussed the thousands of pages of documents his organization has uncovered showing how much Pope Pius did, and how much he was recognized for his efforts. He was joined in his presentation by Dr. Frank Oliveri, who earned his doctorate in Holocaust studies. Krupp also brought and gave out free copies of his report, Pope Pius XII and World War: The Documented Truth, a compilation of  documents  - letters, newspaper articles, diary entries, testimonials, government communications, and so on.

Krupp explained that Pope Pius's efforts included asking convents and monasteries across Europe to hide Jews, assisting Jews trying to escape Europe, hiding Jews at the Vatican, speaking out, working through diplomatic channels, using Church funds to help support Jewish people and communities, and more. He was such a problem for the Nazis that at one point they discussed kidnapping him - Pope Pius had a letter of resignation ready if that did happen so that a new pontiff could be elected.

Krupp alleges - and he is not alone - that one of the major sources of efforts to discredit Pope Pius was the work of Communists to undermine the Catholic Church. The play, The Deputy, was part of those efforts, and it helped to spread the lie that Pius did nothing, and really was sympathetic to the Nazis. Later, the lie was spread by books like John Cornwell's Hitler's Pope - a book full of errors that Cornwell himself later admitted was unbalanced and contained statements that he subsequently recanted.

Krupp said he was supposed to do a debate with Rochester's Deacon Anthony Sciolino, who has self-published a book criticizing the actions of the Catholic Church and Pope Pius XII when it came to the Jews and the Holocaust, a book partly based on Cornwell's flawed scholarship. When challenged to support his claims with documentation, Deacon Sciolino, Krupp reported, said he had no documentation, and then backed out of the debate. I don't know Deacon Sciolino's side of the story about why he decided not to debate, but Krupp's allegations seem plausible. I've also read the deacon's book. It's poorly written and poorly documented.

Hopefully, as Krupp contended, the tide is turning and Pope Pius will receive the credit he is due. 

Pax et bonum

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Back to work

Came back from our trip to the north country to find my schedule in the mail. I am indeed teaching an entirely new course next year - 9th grade English. I have several books to read before school starts; Little Women and The Summer of My German Soldier head the must-read-immediately list because I've never read them before. I've read and taught To Kill a Mockingbird, Pride and Prejudice, and Romeo and Juliet before, so they should not be issues. I've read The Odyssey, but never taught it, therefore that will take more prep work.

I have other work to do to get ready. The style of research paper the 9th graders do I've never done before.  One of the other classes I'm teaching I taught before, but not last year, so that will require some review. My AP classes (3) will be combined AP/Honors classes - so many students signed up for my old AP and so few for Honors that the powers that be decided to combine them - thus there will be some modifications needed. I'll be teaching The Scarlet Letter for the first time in years, for example.

Ah, a teacher's work is never done!

Pax et bonum

Monday, August 11, 2014

Off in the wilds

The Good-looking one and I are up in the Adirondacks enjoying a few days of mountain air and magical early mornings.

just before dawn
loons, ducks, crows, geese, and tweets -
finding God's presence

I'm thinking of Franciscan spirituality as it applies to nature. The traditional Christian view involves dominance or stewardship (per Father Daniel Horan, OFM), but the Franciscan view is one more of kinship. I am not ruling you. I am not just taking care of you. I am your brother.

The first two views - dominance and stewardship - are not wrong. But the Franciscan way is much more personal.

Brother Loon.
Sister Duck.
Brother Crow.
Sister Goose.

Brother Tweet?

Okay - tweets from my Brothers and Sisters!

Pax et bonum

Monday, August 4, 2014

Santa-related Stories

For a while, I regularly wrote a "Santa" blog. There are notes, poems, news items, and so on at the site. There are also a number of stories.

I've already retrieved two - about training a reindeer, and an elf wedding. With some revising, they just might work as children's stories.

That might be the route for me to go.

There are other stories at the site - I have to retrieve them and revise them. And then there's the Santa Ghost story that might work for a fantasy magazine.

Ho! Ho! Ho!

Pax et bonum