Saturday, November 25, 2006

Benedict: A Nightmarish Vision

A month or two ago, I had a dream or a vision.

Benedict was visiting somewhere, most likely the Holy Land or somewhere in the Mid-East. There were the usual crowds and media enterouage that accompany such a papal trip. Then before the world's cameras, a suicide bomber approached. While most of the crowd froze, Benedict ran to him and embraced him. tackling him to the ground, he said "I love you."

The scene dissolved into a horrendous melange of red and white.

Please pray for him on his trip to Turkey.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Vote: What kind of priests do you want?

Commonwealth has written an editorial about "Tomorrow’s Priests." It is based on a set of sociological studies about recently ordained priests.

One study contrasts two types of seminarians. The first (Commonwealth's good guys?) are described as: "A 'servant-leader' model ... emphasizes the collaborative elements of clerical leadership within the community. But the popularity of that model, ascendant in the 1960s, has waned.'"

The second type of seminarian (Commonwealth's bad guys?): "Recently ordained priests adhere to a 'cultic' model of the priesthood that stresses the essential difference between clergy and laity; the priest ... is seen as 'a man set apart whose job is providing the sacraments, teaching the Catholic Church’s doctrine, and being a model of faith and devotion.'”

I plan a thorough critique of the sociological studies underlying Commonwealth's editorial. Father John Trigilio, who appears on ETWN and is president of the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy, has given his own

What type of priest do you think the church needs?

Friday, November 17, 2006

Booms, Technological Babbles and Busts

Milton Friedman died yesterday.

When I was in graduate school in the late 1960s, many of my peers were disciples of Mao and romanticized that thug Che Guevara. They carried around with them The Thoughts of Chairman Mao (
"The Little Red Book") as if it were a badge of honor. I vividly remember the ugliness at the American Economic Association meetings when Friedman gave his Nobel Laureate lecture amid angry prrotests and demonstrations.

The "Little Green Book" (his Capitalism and Freedom) was the first book that made me think critically and creatively in economics. From today's vantage point, it appears to have won the long war with "The Little Red Book." His ideas have seized the commanding heights. It is a great irony that the best words to put on his tomestone would be those of John Maynard Keynes, the dominant intellectual force in economics from 1936 to the 1970s and the king whom Friedman deposed:

"The ideas of economists and political philosophers, both when they are right and when they are wrong, are more powerful than is commonly understood . . . Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influences, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist. Madmen in authority, who hear voices in the air, are distilling their frenzy from some academic scribbler of a few years back."

- J.M. Keynes, General Theory, ch. 24.

Today's Wall Street Journal is a must read. Not only is there a lead editorial on Uncle Milton (no surprise) and a front page article, but they published a new article by Friedman himself ("Why Money Matters") on the editorial page that is a gem. It could as easily have been titled "Booms, Technological Babbles and Busts." Personally, I can't imaging still writing so lucidly and perceptively at 94. In fact, still breathing would be an accomplishment.

Fellow economist Michael Boskin leaves us with the image of Milton and Rose dancing at her birthday. The perfect signature on a full and fruitful life!

Pray for his soul and the wife who has lost a soulmate. May he be smiling down at us from the true commanding heights.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Death Comes For the Archbishop IV

"He was soon to be done with calendared time, and it had already ceased to count for him. He sat in the middle of his own consciousness; none of his former states of mind were lost or outgrown. They were all within reach of his hand, and all comprehensive." -363." Willa Cather, Death Comes For the Archbishop (Thorndike, Me: Thorndike Press, 1984) p. 62.