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Cardinal Scola to Milan

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There is no more important appointment a Pope makes than picking an Archbishop of Milan. One of the five largest dioceses in the world, with an illustrious history and its own Ambrosian Rite, Milan has given two of its sons to the papacy in the past century, Pope Pius XI and Pope Paul VI. So, the news that the Patriarch of Venice, Cardinal Angelo Scola, is headed to Milan is very big news. There is an irony here too: Scola was considered too close to the ecclesial group Communione e Liberazione as a young man and, so, was denied admission to the Milanese seminary!

Blagojevich & Scandal

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It is not with a sense of schadenfreude that I heard the news that former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich had been convicted on multiple charges of corruption, most but not all relating to his attempt to “sell” the Senate seat President Obama vacated upon his election and which Blagojevich had the legal right to fill. I take no delight in the prospect of any man going to prison for 300 years, which is what Blagojevich is facing. But, I do take delight in the verdict as a vindication for the idea that no man is above the law and that, in the realm of politics, no crime is more grave than manipulating our constitutional system.

Berkowitz Reviews Gerson & Wehner

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Peter Berkowitz is one of the three smartest people I have ever met. Our politics differ widely, but his commentaries are always thoughtful and profoundly intelligent, informed by his habit of devouring literature and articles and an almost super-human ability to recall everything he has ever read.
In the current Weekly Standard, Berkowitz reviews a new book by Michael Gerson and Peter Wehner, "Religion and Politics In a New Era." I do quibble with Berkowitz's line about "our universities." Our? My alma mater, Catholic University, taught me very well how to resist intellectual fads of the kind Berkowitz finds unsatisfying. But, the review - and the book - are the kinds of conservative contributions our national political debate needs. There is no Ayn Rand foolishness here, no ahistorical renderings of the founding, no Tea Party hatefulness.

Another Organ, Another Memory

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One of the commenters on my blog post about playing the organ at St. Joseph’s Church mentioned going on an “organ crawl” in Holland. For those unfamiliar with the term, an “organ crawl” is when one or more organists make a tour of instruments in a region. I do not know why the word “crawl” is employed, except that some organs are in lofts with difficult access.

In the event, my organ crawl of Northeast Connecticut continued this weekend. On Friday, I went to St. Mark’s Episcopal Chapel in Storrs, Connecticut, located right on the campus of the University of Connecticut. St. Mark’s hosts a 1978 organ built by John Brombaugh, an organ builder in Oregon. In that summer of 1978, I was a go-fer on the project of installing this organ and learned a great deal about the intricate mechanics of the instrument.

Feliz Fiesta!

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Today is the Solemnity of the Birth of St. John the Baptist, the patronal feast of the island of Puerto Rico and especially of the archdiocese of San Juan. So, a hearty "Feliz Fiesta" to Archbishop Roberto Gonzalez of San Juan and to all our readers on that blessed isle.

Good News on Immigration?

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At the New Republic, Peter schrag writes about a new memo from the Obama administration that suggests a more humane way forward on deportations and other immigration-related policies. It is about time, as Schrag notes. It is also necessary that those of us concerned about immigrants keep the pressure on the administration. Gay rights activists, especially fundraisers, made it clear to the administration that unless the White House put all its efforts behind the effort to repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell, those activists would sit out the next election. We should not sell our support cheaply either and must make sure that the words in the hopeful memo are actually translated into action on the ground.

Must Read on Philly

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I know, I know: Who wants to read something that is sure to depress them? But, read it we must. Philadelphia Magazine has a long story about the sex abuse scandal that continues to rock that city.

The most damning quote:

"When you spend that much time in the Vatican,” a St. Louis priest said of Rigali a decade ago, “you’re like one of the Bernini columns, just one of many holding up the place. You don’t want to draw attention to yourself.” Rigali is gentle and caring, quick to show up at the bedside of an ailing priest. But he is not dynamic. “Justin Rigali wouldn’t have enough inner authority to say in a homily, ‘Love your neighbor,’” said the priest. “He would say, ‘As the Pope said when he was in Toronto: Love your neighbor.’”

And, as rumors continue that Cardinal Rigali will soon be replaced, we can only hope and pray that Rome understands Philadelphia needs a bishop who will be a balm-speader for that troubled archdiocese, not a bomb-thrower.

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November 21-December 5, 2014

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