The new swags and jabots in the living room upstairs, created from scratch by the Tuck man, rule. Totally awesome. It answers the question of whether home economics with sewing should or should not be required in high school curricula. In our day, we had to take home ec, and Tuck had to take shop. Neither girls nor boys were encouraged/allowed to follow their interests. Earlier on, though, in second and third grade, we attended the progressive, private Exeter [NH] Day School, where girls and boys both took everything. Our beloved mother always spoke proudly of us as a "sweet girl carpenter." Now, in homeschooling at Chelsea-by-the-Sea, Tuck took a wicked short course in sewing from the Mother of All Swags and Jabots -- ourselves -- and outstripped the mistress.
"The archbishop said he rues the tone of much of the debate that takes place within the church and society -- a debate that has been coarsened and amplified by the proliferation of blogs and email," writes Michael Paulsen in a Boston Globe interview with Archbishop Sean P. O'Malley on the eve of the Capuchin friar's elevation to Cardinal in Vatican City ceremonies Friday:
In a rare, wide-ranging interview, O'Malley said the Catholic Church can no longer rely on its position of authority to transmit its teachings on moral values, but instead must turn increasingly to persuasion in an effort to convince a skeptical society of the merits of Christian faith . . .
His first 32 months here have been made difficult not only by the deep damage to trust, finances, and participation caused by the sexual abuse crisis, but also by controversy over the closings of 62 of 357 parishes, and, more recently, division over the church's opposition to adoptions by gay households.
"Vatican expert John Allen of the National Catholic Reporter says Archbishop O’Malley’s elevation is a special endorsement by Pope Benedict XVI," reports cbs4boston.com. "Cardinals are expected to serve as good will ambassadors around the world. But Allen believes the pope will respect O’Malley’s request to spend most of his time in Boston. 'My guess is that he is going to be very sensitive to that, because obviously there is a truckload of work that has to be done in Boston.'”
Pope Benedict XVI's decision to elevate O'Malley is controversial, of course, his having inherited the diocese of the disgraced, some say scapegoated, Bernard Cardinal Law -- now ensconsed behind closed doors at the Vatican to the dismay of our perspicacious reader and blogpal, Teresa of Technicalities -- on whose watch the sexual-abuse scandal came to a head, and it isn't just the blogs and email. Our local CBS4boston.com is on the case, with quotable quotes from "local Catholics who are still struggling with their faith":
Attorney Mitchell Garabedian represents dozens of victims who remain disappointed and disillusioned. "He's not holding healing masses; there are no workshops being conducted; there's been no apology. Why don't you tell them what's going on with the pedophile priests, if you're watching them, how you're watching them?"
According to our exclusive Fast Track poll, conducted by Survey USA, many Boston area Catholics feel the same way.
The litany of complaints -- no "healing masses," workshops or apology -- has a disagreeably reflexive Opraesque ring to it, but the sense of betrayal is deep, and Oprah rules -- just ask Harvey Mansfield -- so snap out of it. More from the Globe interview:
O'Malley, whose new red robes symbolize a willingness to shed blood for the church, noted that his fellow Capuchin bishops, who mostly serve in the developing world, have faced physical danger as a result of their positions. He said he does not expect to face such danger himself, but there are other challenges here in Boston.
''It's unlikely that I will experience a bloody persecution, but there are always more subtle forms of persecution that people have to endure for their beliefs and to be able to witness to the Gospel," he said. ''At times, I think the dominant culture, the secular culture, does trivialize our beliefs, and at times ridicules them. . . . There were many worse forms of persecution. But, I think that there are many forms of persecution, and certainly one of them is to be ridiculed."
We love to contemplate the difference between Archbishop O'Malley's tempered response to ridicule and the hysteria of our fellow sufferers of the Islamic persuasion whose lack of humor forces them to totally lose it whenever someone makes a joke at their expense. Cartoon wars come to mind. Who would ever dream that a faithless if soulful one like ourselves could find profound sustenance in Catholic dialogue? It started with Benedetto, who touched our mind and heart, first with his love of cats and Mozart and then with his recognition of the threat that Islamicism poses to Western Civilization. As we've blogged before, "he inhabits an intellectually rigorous and emotionally rich world of faith and ritual we will never know," but even so, he renews our faith in our fellow human beings:
I know that my redeemer liveth and that he shall stand -- shall stand -- at the latter day upon the earth.
If only the heartstopping, breathtaking music of the Church -- from Gregorian Chants through Handel's "Messiah" and Mozart's "Ave Verum Corpus" and beyond -- could enjoy a rebirth of recognition amongst the great unwashed. It happened a little bit during John Paul's funeral and Benedetto's induction last year, when the cables took a break from all-blonde-missing-girls-all-the-time to focus on the pageantry and emotional shock and awe of one of western civilization's great cultural traditions. We were totally mesmerized and are hoping for a reprise this weekend.