Monthly Archives: March 2013


Conclave. To replace a Pope! The Catholic Church in Rome. The Cardinals, the Princes of the Church. Conclave. A particularly Catholic thing. Not for the whole two millennium, but for a good portion of the recent times. I like that they go in and can’t come out until they’ve done their job. But, it’s crazy what some want from a new Pope. What they want the Catholic Church to be: women priests, married priests, accepting of gay marriage. Catholic Lite some call it. Cafeteria Catholic others say. Others want the church to be more Catholic and they say that with a capital C, not a small one. [Personally, I love that, catholic with a small c] And. It reminds me of the Second Vatican Council, John 23 and the ‘throw open the windows’ stuff. Fifty years ago. We stopped wearing hats to church, we stood around the altar while the priest was consecrating the hosts. We received the Body of Christ in our hand.

Did you ever read  Fyodor Dostoyevsky and The Brothers Karamazov? I studied Russian through high school and college.  Latin and then Russian. Catholic school, yeah, I know! Senior year at Alemany, I read all the great Russian authors. But the brothers stuck with me. It was all about faith and God, free will, ethics, morality. But what stuck with me was the chapter, The Grand Inquisitor, well, it’s really more of a parable, a story inside the greater story. 

The Grand Inquisition. Spain. Not the best of times for the Catholic Church. So, here’s the scene. Seville. Torquemada. Tomás, a Dominican monk who is in charge of who is faithful and who is a heretic. He finds Jesus traipsing through town, preaching love and God, performing miracles. And the people recognize Him and are prepared to adore Him. So, Tomás has Jesus brought in. Jesus says, “Do you know who I am?” And Tomás says, “Yes.” “So,” Jesus says, “Let me be about my work.” And Tomás says, “No. You’ve been gone for fourteen hundred years. You left. You think you can just waltz back in here and preach and perform miracles and it will be okay? You left this church to us. So. No. You need to leave.” Well, it’s really said a lot better by Fyodor, and longer, much longer.

I know this wonderful priest, who is like an uncle to me. Congregation of the Holy Cross? Notre Dame? “Go Irish?” I rarely see him now. He officiated our wedding. He baptized my children, my nieces, my nephew. I read Fyodor, I talked to O’Connor. I watched the changes in the liturgy and I love the liturgy of the Catholic Church. I miss high mass. I love the Sacred Tritium of Easter. I was worried. Then. And, now. But I remember what O’Connor said,  ‘never judge the church by the churchmen.’ That was Tomás’s problem.




I thought about wasteland this morning as I went out to pick up the papers. The cold wind that came through during the night and stayed on in the morning like a very un-welcomed guest left a cleansed feeling to the air and the landscape. All around the world was brushed, no leaves on the lawn or in the driveway. No clouds in the sky, just the blue. A sort of white sun shone, and I thought of a Georgia O’Keeffe painting and the bleaching by the desert.

When I was younger and TV was more of a ‘new’ new thing, the wasteland was what they called television. Today, I think that may be more appropriate for the internet, but back to TV. TV was mindless, what had originally be thought of as being this wonderful communication device, this way of bringing to the masses, those poor, hungry starving ones that landed at Ellis Island, a bit of culture, a window to the wonders of the world. Well, no. And, though there was some of that, I remember Playhouse 90 with these live stage plays, there was too,  Milton Berle, Father Knows Best which were not quite as inspiring. Now it’s WWW Raw, and sitcoms that are about nothing.

And, it makes me think that the best thing about television when I was younger is that the characters stayed true to the storyline and the drama was inherent in the way the story was told. Now it seems like we’re back to the wasteland. Reality TV and the opportunity to watch people make fools of themselves, and no Groucho Marx around to soften the blow.  There are series where the whole point it seems is for the main characters to get into bed together. My impetus for writing this? Well, the season finale on Suits, where Jessica Pearson, the managing partner talks about ‘controlling’ another partner. Sigh. Soaps. That’s what they all are. From Downton Abbey to Suits, they are all soaps.

It may still be a wasteland. And, I may grow tired of a series when it turns away from it’s story line into stupid stuff, well, stupid for me. And I may decide to give up and find more interesting story lines. Or. I may just sit down and work on my own.


It should be spring. It’s March, okay so it’s only the beginning of the month and the actual vernal equinox doesn’t come for a while. According to the Farmer’s Almanac, it will be at 7:02 AM (EDT) on March 20. I may set my alarm.  But I actually think Spring, meaning semi-warm weather being around 70-72 degrees with sun, lots of sun and blue skies [truly I don’t care if the sky is  Carolina Blue or not] begins anytime, and is more a state of mind than an actual climatic event.

According to ol’ Puxatawney Phil, he of the no shadow in 2013, winter will NOT be extended by six weeks. Yeah, but. Six weeks from when? February 2? Or from the vernal equinox? Because the vernal equinox, you know, that when the sun moves the highest it is ever going to get in the northern hemisphere, is more than six weeks from February 2. So is Phil, I always call him Phil, saying the vernal equinox, that event that is a universal truth, one of the few, means nothing? Well. That’s always confused me. If it is from 2/2 then we should be getting spring weather soon. Not spring-like, it either is or it is not, there is no like about it.

Sigh. Spring is not what it used to be. Now we talk about spring being between Tuesday and the following Saturday. The weather goes from Winter to Summer. Same same for Fall. Summer to Winter, with only a short stop in between. Well, maybe if you live in the northeast and there wasn’t a hurricane or something else to take out all the lovely leaves that fall all over the place.

I sometimes wonder if spring hasn’t changed, just me. When I was a kid, did I really care about the weather?  No. If it was too rainy or cold to be outside I read. If it was warm enough to be outside I rode my blue and cream English racer, complete with a camel colored seat and matching knapsack, around the neighborhood, mapping the area, knowing all the ins and outs, loving the feeling of freedom and the wind, created wind, but wind all around me.

Yeah, it should be spring.