Saturday, October 11, 2008

Product Description
'Shaw, widely known Catholic writer, speaker and former communications director for the U S Bishops, discusses the abuse of secrecy in the Church, the scandals it has caused and the serious problem of mistrust that exists in the credibility of the Church. Not concerned with the legitimate secrecy that is necessary to protect confidentiality and people's reputations, Shaw is rather concerned here with the stifling, deadening misuse of secrecy that has done immense harm to communion and community in the Church in America. '

I went to the Russell Shaw lecture today at the Center for Catholic Studies at Nassau Community College. Shaw discussed his book on the misuse of secrecy in the Church, carefully noting the legitimate uses of secrecy such as the confessional, or private matters. His book and lecture noted that secrecy props up clericalism as those in charge keep information from the average Catholic creating a sense of insiders vs. outsiders. A good point was Shaw's contention that clericalism is not limited to the clergy and is even evidenced by the over emphasis on 'lay ministry', something I have noted many times. The lack of communication within the Church negatively affects the Communio which is a major part of the Church's mission. During the question and answer session I asked Shaw about the new forms of communication used by Catholics today such as EWTN which televises the bishops conferences and blogging. Shaw was pretty positive about EWTN and Raymond Arroyo but very negative on blogging which he didn't seem to find useful at all. I understand his view on blogging but hope that he can find some good in the Catholic blogosphere. Shaw has the attitude found among many mainstream media types, that blogs are not 'real journalism' which is true enough. Shaw ended with mention of the Apostolic Visitation of US seminaries which was supposed to be a major part of the result of the infamous Dallas meeting of Bishops in 2002. After the whole priest sex scandal exploded the visitations were a major part of reform, and Shaw noted how the entire thing went on and finished without any public notice. There were no major reports giving findings, or announcements of steps taken to improve any flaws in the system. This was a great point that shows that as much as has changed, some things have remained the same in the Church. This was an interesting talk and I can't wait to read the book.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Be it ever so humble, there's no place like Shea

My brother sent me the fascinating article linked above about the closing of Shea Stadium. I didn't get to a ballgame at Shea Stadium at all this year so I didn't get to say goodbye to the stadium that was a nice part of my life. I went there many times as a kid, with friends, with family and later as an adult with my wife (then girlfriend) and my niece. I can remember sitting in the upper deck (red seats) as part of the Mets fan club and then moving down to the better seats after a few innings. There were always plenty of unused seats pre-1986. Hopefully, I will get to see a game at the new stadium but it will not be the same.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Reminder: this Saturday is Russell Shaw's talk:

Saturday, October 11th - 1:30 PM Nassau Community College

Russell Shaw presents his book, Nothing to Hide: Secrecy, Communication, and Communion in the Catholic Church (Ignatius Press, 2008)

1:30 P.M. in the Multipurpose Room of the Nassau Community College Center Building.

The event is free of any charge and there will be a coffee and desert table, after the talk, for members of the audience. The local NCC Barnes and Noble affiliate will be selling copies of his book for those interested.In order to attend the event, however, registration is required and a parking permit must be secured.
From the Deacon's Bench - a Time Magazine story on young nuns from 2006:

Today's Nun Has A Veil--And A Blog

"Over the past five years, Roman Catholic communities around the country have experienced a curious phenomenon: more women, most in their 20s and 30s, are trying on that veil. Convents in Nashville, Tenn.; Ann Arbor, Mich.; and New York City all admitted at least 15 entrants over the past year and fielded hundreds of inquiries. One convent is hurriedly raising funds for a new building to house the inflow, and at another a rush of new blood has lowered the median age of its 225 sisters to 36."

This is old news to those of us who have followed the young traditional/older liberal split in the Church and religious life.

The article also quotes a native Long Islander:

"For those who are called, there is a real falling in love. You are filled with a joy and desire to be with God," says Sister Mary Gabriel Devlin, 32, vocation director at Sisters of Life. "Their families are not experiencing this, so it can be hard for them to understand."

One of the blogging sisters is mentioned:

"There are people out there who wonder what being a nun is like," says Sister Julie Vieira, 36. "These are people who were exposed to stereotypes of nuns and don't understand how we really live." So last summer Vieira began a blog titled A Nun's Life, in which she has chronicled her days as a sister of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and also a conventional-dressing, apartment-dwelling, master's degree--holding production coordinator at the Loyola Press, a Catholic publisher in Chicago."

You can see a huge list of Blogs by Religious on the Catholic Blog Directory. Overall the article is nice, although it contains this (understandable) error when discussing veils:

"Decreed unnecessary by Vatican II and shed happily by many older nuns, the headdress is for many of today's newcomers a desired accessory. "A lot of my older sisters would never wear the veil," says Sister Sarah Roy, 29, who is the only member of her Sisters of St. Francis of the Immaculate Conception in Peoria, Ill., to do so. (The others wear a simple dark dress adorned by a pin.) "

Of course Vatican II did not decree any such thing, although many nuns did happily shed their veils or modified them.
From Newsday (not The Onion) -

Study: Stem cells derived from men's testicles seem to work as well as embryonic stem cells

"Using testicular cells isn't the only promising method that avoids embryos; there have been impressive experiments in reprogramming ordinary body cells into stem cells by slipping certain genes into them."

Gives new meaning to the phrase "grow a pair" don't it? The breakthroughs in non-embryonic stem cell research are impressive indeed.