Archive for October 8th, 2014

Burnt Straw III



Every time I hike in the local wood everything is more golden. I wonder if there is anything more beautiful than watching a leaf dancing its one dance earthward, or even sweeter, into a still pond. I have always loved Fall, second only to Spring, with the beauty of transfiguration shining through, even in death and decay.

Fr Benedict

Fr Benedict Groeschel died on the eve of the feast of St Francis, October 3. To some he is best remembered for some clumsy statements he made about abusive priests well into his dotage. While some cynics suggest that he was allowed to speak publicly when he was clearly, and painfully, in decline because his order saw him as a cash cow, anyone who knew Father understands that no friar wanted to approach him with such a suggestion. And anyone who knows the friars knows how foolish such an explanation is. Like you choose to sleep on the floor with a thin mat and live on alms and you are a religious materialist?

Benedict was ornery, and a lot more interesting than most of the hagiographical eulogies floating around suggest. He was a great man and a holy man.

But not a holy card man. He could be an asshole.

While I have long thought that I should write about Fr Benedict when he died, now that he has I cannot.

In time I will tell my tales.

We’re Number One

There is a woman on my route, a retired professor at the local college. She is a Republican of an almost vanished kind: prochoice (she gives money to Planned Parenthood), an environmentalist and birdwatcher, anti-union, concerned about illegal immigrants, scared of ISIS and Ebola, and a Unitarian.

Just about my political and religious opposite, aside from the Green stuff.

I like her very much. She is vibrant, and of an indeterminate age. She works hard, gardening, mowing her lawn in the summer, shoveling her long driveway in the winter. She is a lively conversationalist and great fun to talk to, though we agree about hardly anything.

She has a sister and brother in law who have lived in Switzerland for many years. She was telling me about their son, a musician who became addicted to opiates. He was sent to a rehabilitation center for three months, where he kicked his habit. The cost was the equivalent of $50,000, which was covered by the State.

We talked about the contrast with the American approach, which would have been to spend far more money incarcerating the young man, which would have done him, and his community, little good. Or more accurately, would have brutalized him.

That is how insane America is: we imprison people who are in pain and seeking relief. We have the largest incarceration rate in the world, mostly because of the ‘War on Drugs’.

As many wags has said, drugs won.

Although the lady does not believe in State sponsored health care, we at least agreed that if money is to be spent it is wiser to spend it on healing than punishment.

I love it when affectionate opponents agree.



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