The Monday Mix
Of course, the breaking news, usual buzz and self-sourced reports will always be aired through the day as they come in, but this seems an efficient way to start the day -- a humble contribution to your productivity toward bigger and better things than reading these pages.
Here's the news:
- The Quote (and Apology) Heard 'Round the World continue to generate ink, talk, screaming, etc. For our purposes, though, you know it's gotten bad when the respected Rome-based agency AsiaNews reports that Benedict XVI's scheduled late-November trip to Turkey is "at risk" of not going foreward. A third day was added to the travel plan "at the last minute," and while the country's bishops were scheduled to meet this morning to finalize plans, "they will now have to decide whether the Pope’s visit to Turkey’s can go ahead in such a hostile climate," the agency reports. One boost, however, has come from an unexpected corner -- the former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami, a moderate cleric. Returning to Tehran from his speaking tour of the US, Khatami said that he believed the Pope "was rather an educated and patient man" and urged the wider audience to ensure that the quote cited at last week's lecture at the University of Regensburg was not reacted to on the basis of "misinterpreted" reports. The AP has compiled a list of the apologies issued during the last pontificate and, earlier this morning, the archbishop of Canterbury jumped into the fray. "The Pope has already issued an apology and I think his views on this need to be judged against his entire record, where he has spoken very positively about dialogue," Rowan Williams told the BBC, noting that "There are elements in Islam that can be used to justify violence, just as there are in Christianity and Judaism."
- In nicer Islamo-Catholic news, Reuters reports that a Minnesota lawyer will likely end up as the first Muslim elected to Congress at the November midterms. Democrat Keith Ellison, 43, was born Catholic and converted to Islam in college. "He says his 'strength and moral courage' come from both religions," the wire wrote. "I am inspired by the Koran's message of an encompassing divine love and a deep faith life every day," Ellison said in an interview.
- It's gotten play elsewhere, but as St Francis Day approaches a story's come up on what are probably the church's most-blessed animals: Pasqualina and Noelle, the Mass-attending dogs of Fr Louis Scurti, the Catholic chaplain at William Paterson University in New Jersey. "A third dog, Advent, died last year," a local paper reports. The canines are a hit with parishioners, and apparently have become acclimated to truly Catholic behavior: "If a parishioner walks in late to Mass, Pasqualina has been known to growl," the North Jersey Herald-News said.
- In genuine "true believer" news, the 1998 rape and murder of Wharton grad student Shannon Schieber sent shockwaves of grief and fear through the Philly area, not to mention the Penn community. Today's Inky features the story of Schieber's mother, Vicki, who's on tour speaking about how she pled for her daughter's killer -- the infamous "Center City Rapist," who'd been charged in five other assaults -- to be spared the death penalty, citing its conflict with the Magisterium. "I could not, and my husband could not, become complicit in the choice of that sentence. The ultimate form of hatred is the deliberate taking of another person's life," Schieber told a parish yesterday.
- My radio-loving heart has been searching far and wide for the big rollout announcement of The Catholic Channel, the archdiocese of New York-backed venture which launches on Sirius Satellite Radio in but eight days' time.... Alas, what should be a building crescendo bears the air of a secret project -- few publicized plans, no released names of signed air-talent of yet, etc. It's a bit of a curious silence, but here's hoping they get up to speed quickly and launch strong. No pressure, of course, but more than you'd think rides on its success.
- And, lastly, those who remember a late '90s song called "Blue on Black" might be surprised to learn that, of all people, Kenny Wayne Shepherd had a schism-lisicous wedding over the weekend. Then again, when your new father-in-law effectively operates as his own ordinary, these things happen. The married prelate in question is -- who else? -- Mel Gibson, who "hosted the ceremony at his ultra-conservative Holy Family church on his £2million [$3.75 million] estate in Malibu, California." Issues of communion, teaching and liceity aside, many happy wishes to Shepherd and his bride, Hannah, Gibson's 25 year-old daughter.