Monthly Archives: December 2018

Cristo Rey Network puts low-income students to work–and on to college

A Catholic education success story:

Washington D.C., Dec 27, 2018 / 02:30 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- As urban Catholic schools nationwide are closing their doors, it may come as a surprise that the Catholic Cristo Rey Network says it is on-pace to expand to a total of 50 schools within the next decade. The network says that it can provide Catholic education in low-income areas for a fraction of the cost of other high schools.

What’s the secret? Through a unique arrangement called the Corporate Work Study Program, Cristo Rey students are placed in entry-level corporate positions for five days a month. Instead of being paid for their work, students earn their tuition.

The Corporate Work Study Program began in the mid-1990s, when Chicago Jesuits were seeking to better serve the city’s Latino community. After surveying residents, they discovered that they most desired a college-prep high school in their neighborhood. When issues of funding came up, the Jesuits assigned to create this new school reached out to a “very creative, original thinker” for ideas.

“They asked [the consultant] for some ideas about how to sustain a private school for students and families who could not afford to pay for it. He came back with the suggestion that every student have a job,” Fr. John P. Foley, S.J., founder of the Cristo Rey Network, told CNA.

“That was the origin of the Cristo Rey concept.” . . . .

Chicago Jesuits did this. Let’s hear it for the home team.

Too much light – A poem by Clive James

By heaven, a poem, on a favorite subject . . .

Not for attribution

A cataract poem, yeah! What a nice surprise.

My cataracts invest the bright spring day
With extra glory, with a glow that stings.

etc. Read it.

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Want to know whol’s f—ling with us? Cherchez les Royals!

My nomination for lede of the week:

Christopher Steele leads us to Stefan Halper which leads us to Sir Richard Dearlove and the members of the Queen’s Privy Council and the world-wide propaganda of the Tavistock Institute which keeps free-roaming humans thinking that they are free, but in actuality we are all being people-farmed by the British royals.

What if he’s right? The redcoats again? Thought we dealt with them long time ago.

Some make money off being POTUS, some lose it

The Donald loses it.

NEW YORK — When workers pried the Trump name off another Manhattan building earlier this year, it capped a bad few weeks for the president’s businesses.

Donald Trump’s golf resorts in Scotland had just posted millions of dollars in losses, one of his hotels in Panama had rebranded itself a Marriott, and New York officials announced they were looking into how he avoided paying tens of millions in taxes.

All that, along with the daily drumbeat of Trump tweets and headlines about investigations into his administration, led Austin, Texas, tech executive Gary Barrett to finally give up hope of ever turning a profit on an apartment he bought as an investment in a Trump tower in Las Vegas.


For an inveterate money-maker, he has not played his cards right.

As opposed to his immediate predecessor, who rose from sometime community organizer to high-life liver worth millions.


Cupich of Chicago dropped abuse ball in Spokane

He joins the long line of prelates who missed the responsibility boat.

“The Diocese of Spokane shares the concern of those who are angry and saddened to learn that the Oregon Province of Jesuits—now part of the Jesuits West Province—placed Jesuits credibly accused of sexual abuse at the Cardinal Bea House on Gonzaga University’s campus without informing the Gonzaga community,” a Dec. 20 statement from the diocese read.

In June 2011, “the Jesuit Provincial, Father Patrick Lee, informed then-Bishop Blase Cupich that seven priests with safety plans in place were living at Bea House,” the diocesan statement added.

“Bishop Thomas Daly—who was installed in 2015—was not informed by the Jesuits or Gonzaga University that these men were living at Cardinal Bea House.”

Cupich failed to act and failed to alert his successor. Had bigger irons in the fire, apparently.

Bruce Springsteen Catholic returnee . . .

Making lots a sense:

Springsteen is nearly 70. “You get more spiritual as you grow older,” he said. “You’re closer to the other world, so maybe that has something to do with it … I do still find myself drawn to the Catholic Church. I visit my small church quite often … I continue to feel the Catholic Church’s imprint on me rather strongly.” That’s putting it mildly; indeed, entire books have been written about the Catholic sensibility that infuses Springsteen’s work, going back to his first album, Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J.

Especially with that “closer to the other world” part. Bruce, wait ’til you’re 86.

When the liturgy reformer went on the lam after escaping jail . . .

Consider Dom Beauduin, previously noted as a World War I hero. This account is from a successor in the liturgical movement, Dom Bernard Botte, in his excellently readable, largely eyewitness account of the movement From Silence to Participation (Pastoral Press, 1988). The book is a translation of that year of a 1973 book in French.

Botte was drafted into the Belgian army in April 1914 and served to August of 1919, having left off his pre-ordination studies to follow the call.

Life was like that in Northern Euro countries where seminarians were not exempt. Indeed it was like that in the early ’50s, when as a Jesuit scholastic studying philosophy I heard from a New Yorker about the French scholastic who returned to studies after a compulsory turn in the French army. For us Americans, of course, seminary occupancy was a ticket to non-service in the military.

He ran into Beauduin in a train station during the war, and needless to say they did not discuss liturgy, Botte being headed for the Western Front, where all was not quiet, and Beauduin doing God knew what and the Germans were trying to find out.

He was in fact working with British Intelligence and at one point was jailed for his troubles. Here had an Apostle Paul-like experience, escaping when the guard inside fell asleep and bluffing the sentry outside when he walked away. Later, he was condemned to death in absentia.

By then he had made it across the Dutch border, but only after “other equally fantastic adventures” did he later make it to England, where he acquired a zest for ecumenism after sessions with Anglican friends.

More later about that element of Dom Beauduin’s voluminous real-life portfolio . . .

Another book in progress, Literary Matters

Writing, how to: Zeno, the third-century B.C. Greek, cited five qualities of good (more or less formal) speech and writing:

* Language faultless in grammar and free from “careless” vulgarity

* Lucidity – presenting thought so it’s easily understood

* Conciseness – using no more words than necessary

* Appropriateness – using a style akin to the subject

* At least semi-formality, avoiding colloquialism.

Reporting as art form: Henry James said it took imagination “of a very high order” to “extract importance” from events while remaining faithful to them, “free only to select and never to modify or add.”

Writing as medicinal: 18th-century cleric Laurence Sterne wrote in a “constant endeavor to fence against the infirmities of ill health,” he said in the dedication of his novel The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy. He wanted to “beguile (the reader) of one moment’s pain,” since “every time a man smiles . . . it adds something to this Fragment of Life.”

Cutting: The first of Stephen King’s ten ways to better writing is to write less in revision. Yours becomes the incredible shrinking essay. And it’s better that way.

Hanging in there . . .

In “To Charles Cowden Clark,” John Keats, feeling uninspired and “not oversmitten” by what he has just written, adds, “Yet, as my hand was warm, I thought I’d better/ Trust to my feelings, and write you a letter.” He goes with the flow, trusting his warm (hot?) hand. Like the three-point-shooter, basketball’s unique practitioner of confidence and skill; make half of them, you lead the league. You have to be good and trust yourself.

What friends are for . . .

Keats wrote poetry after social outings, flushed with the joy of them, as in “On leaving some friends at an early hour”: “What a height my spirit is contending!/ ‘Tis not content so soon to be alone.”

Or leaving his friend Leigh Hunt’s cottage, walking five miles at night to his own lodgings: “I have many miles on foot to fare./ Yet feel I little of the cool, bleak air.”

Or in “To my brothers,” where Keats and his brother Tom, 17, sit at night in their lodgings, one composing, the other studying: “And while for rhymes I search around the poles,/ Your eyes are fixed, as in poetic sleep,/ Upon the lore so voluble and deep. . . . Many such eves of gently whispering noise/ May we together pass and calmly try/ What are this world’s true joys . . .” Hear, hear.

Not carved in stone? . . .

“Constant Revision” is a book title I am considering. About writing. Shakespeare’s plays were undergoing revision while performed by his troupe. Poetry of a century or two ago is considered in its various versions. Sometimes we prefer an earlier version. But things get revised all the time, even after they are in print. So why shouldn’t we scribblers have that approach to what we do: constant revision until we die.

There goes Nancy again . . .

Evelyn Waugh and Nancy Mitford “like all writers, put entertainment first and exaggerated for effect,” says WSJ reviewer Florence King 4/29, reviewing The Letters of Nancy Mitford and Evelyn Waugh (Houghton Mifflin, $40). She exaggerates for effect, but the point’s made. Mitford tweaked Waugh about his Catholicism, comparing the resurrection of the body to “finding your motor car after a party” and marveling at how mourners say of the departed, “‘She must be in heaven now’ — as though she’d caught the 4:45.” Waugh called this “a fatuous intrusion” into a world she knew nothing of. Clever, though.

The death question . . .

A friend concerned about the noncommercial aspects of Blithe Spirit asked if I have gotten any work from it, meaning corporate work, which pays more than work for publication in most cases. (You should read Ben Jonson’s correspondence with his lordly patrons. “Drink to me only with thine eyes,” he told Celia, but he still had to live.) No work from it, I said, and he wondered what people will say when they bury me, implying they would not say much if I’d gotten no assignments from it.

Actually, it will little affect me one way or the other at that point, which he surely realizes, but like most people insufficiently. Indeed, even if by slip of lip, it’s strange to speak of point-of-death achievement in terms of work for hire. I love work for hire, but Blithe Spirit is the sort of thing you squeeze in before you die.

The night cometh, after all, when no man stirs, which I just made up. No woman either.

Now you see me, now you don’t . . .

Do not assume that I am rushing to beat a short deadline, though in the scheme of things we all labor under a short one. Neither the day nor the hour has been announced to me. I await the thief in the night like the rest of you.

Still, the uncovered manhole is out there. Ditto drive-by machine-gunning by drug-crazed hippies — the usual assortment of Sudden Happenings. Eternity lurks at every corner. Or as Hector says in Chapman’s Homer, in his goodbye to wife Hecuba before the final battle, “the solid heape of night.”

Well, when the solid heap of night o’ertakes me, will people bemoan my getting few or no assignments? Or will they happily recall the nonsense here displayed under guise of art and journalism, to name just two of many possible cover stories for all this?

The Shadow knows, but who else?

The source of our problems . . .

You’ve heard of blaming it all on television, especially when Elvis danced on Ed Sullivan.1 Or on Prohibition or the Reformation or the Edict of Constantine. Well I have found one who blames it on the Earl of Shaftesbury (1621-83), that well-known apostle of sentimentalism, which I define as the mood that makes one unable to understand a news story without “human interest” thrown in.

Sentimentalism is only half the problem, however. The other half is association-of-ideas, a philosophical doctrine from Hobbes and Locke and a hot item of discussion by 18th-century talk-show hosts.

The pinpointer of these seminal ailments is Yvor Winters (1900-68), a U.S. literary critic who shook up his Stanford students in the ’30s and ’40s, etc. with anti-Romanticism and would be strung up by students or other teachers if he tried it today.

Winters’ problem would be the primacy he gives reason — in poetry but one suspects therefore in all of life — over emotion. For him emotion is a deep pit, something faced as “the brink of darkness,” as he called his only short story, published the year his friend the poet Hart Crane jumped ship in mid-ocean without a lifejacket, 1932.

Crane, a tortured soul by any measure, ordered (and apparently ate) a big breakfast before taking the final leap of despair, a victim of what Winters identified as rampant emotionalism. What do you expect? Winters asked about Crane and any number of other mad poets, the 18th century’s Blake among them, who bought the primacy of feeling and scorned reason.

This was an idea “to break the minds of . . . men with sufficient talent to take the theory seriously.” One is reminded of Janis Joblin and other performers, tragic spirits, who give their all for chaos, saints “of the wrong religion,” as Winters identified Hart Crane.

The crime of sentimentalism . . .

This association of ideas idea seems to absolve the thinker of a need for coherence and unity, leaving him with nothing but emphasis — lots or less of it depending on the weather. In other words, your ideas are great, kid, even if they don’t hold water. They’re yours, aren’t they? And who am I to say you’re wrong? Etc.

Romantic poets — one of whom coined or made memorable the phrase “blithe spirit”

Crime and punishment: A papal bull in the Church’s china shop

From the pope who rarely surprises us.

Reminds some of us of the California federal circuit whose decisions are most often overturned.

By Dr. Jeff Mirus (bioarticlesemail) | Dec 18, 2018

Pope Francis has decided not only to raise questions about the prudence of capital punishment in our world today but also to cast into doubt centuries of previous Catholic moral teaching on the subject. It is true, to give Pope Francis his due, that there is no single definitive teaching by the Magisterium of the Church which proves beyond a shadow of doubt that he is demonstrably wrong. But all prior ecclesiastical evidence indicates, pace Francis, that capital punishment may be applied morally by legitimate public authority for grave crimes with the purpose of punishing evil and protecting the common good.

Even the latest changes to the Catechism can be interpreted in a manner consistent with this moral tradition. This consistency represents the current state of the teaching of the ordinary Magisterium on the subject, reaffirmed and clarified many times, strongly rooted in Sacred Scripture, and repeated in the Fathers of the Church. But definitive Magisterial statements are in short supply, for the historical reality is that this teaching has been considered so obvious that it has never been thought necessary to make it the subject of either a papal or a conciliar definition. . . . .

Etc., none of which stops him from going on and on with his flights of fancy. Where did they get this fellow?

Who killed reverence at holy mass? Alternate opening to book . . .

Today’s mass not prayer-friendly?

Dominus Vobiscum: Notes from a massgoer's underground

. . . as explanation for my interest in Holy Mass besides the usual for a mass-going octogenarian with a history of  mass attendance.

Along lines of something I wrote in a few years back as “Church Reporter” for the (now defunct ) Chicago Catholic News:


No paragon of these am I, even if at 18 I left home to study them full time. After two years of it (novitiate), I got my SJ degree, which I relinquished many years later but would rather not go into right now.

Even so, much of it has stuck. At Mass, for instance, I often enter the zone of prayer and meditation, which makes me a poor participant in the liturgy.

Doesn’t mean I think of nothing else (distractions, you know) or that I am superior to the fellow or gal next to me who belts out the…

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