Friday, September 15, 2006

Friday Morning Grab Bag

Couple things making news out in the ecclesial ether today:
  • Australia ordained its first Jesuit bishop ever last night. Greg O'Kelly, SJ was made an auxiliary of Adelaide before a crowd of 5,000 at the city's convention center in an event advertised as South Australia's "most significant [church] event for some years." An op who was present for the liturgy reports that, particularly given the long link between the Jesuits' Australian province and the southern state, the feeling is quite positive. To laughs, the new bishop, 64, reported feeling like "a slightly startled mature-age bridegroom." In a notable touch, a hymn was commissioned for the ordination based on the "Lord, All Holy One" prayer of Pedro Arrupe, the controversial Jesuit Father-General of the post-Concilar period. As with all the bishops appointed from around the world over the last year, Bishop O'Kelly is off to Rome next week for the annual "New Bishop School" week of workshops, coordinated by the Congregation for Bishops.
  • If the BBC is to be believed -- and usually, they are -- anger over the Pope's Regensburg reference to jihad is growing. The head of the Muslim Brotherhood is quoted as saying Benedict XVI's words have "aroused the anger of the whole Islamic world," while the papal spokesman (he may hate the title, but oh well) Fr Federico Lombardi responded that "It is clear that the Holy Father's intention is to cultivate a position of respect and dialogue towards other religions and cultures, and that clearly includes Islam." Overnight, the Pakistani parliament voted to condemn the remarks, with the country's Foreign Office accusing the pontiff of "ignorance." The dispute has caused some unwelcome tumult in advance of Benedict's late November visit to Turkey, where he'll likely make a stop at the mission church where an Italian priest, Fr Andrea Santoro, was killed in February by local Muslim youths.
  • Here in Philadelphia, two weeks shy of the one-year anniversary of the grand jury report on sexual abuse by clergy, two invited victim-survivors will be speaking out later today to Cardinal Justin Rigali and the clergy of the archdiocese. Dubbed "Witness to the Sorrow," the event at St Charles Borromeo Seminary will run from 4 to 6pm and be comprised of two parts: the survivors, and a parent of victims, will have a combined hour to speak in the seminary's auditorium. The second hour will be an Evening Prayer service in St Martin's Chapel. All of it will be streamed live and then archived on the archdiocesan website. The event has aroused the expected buzz of local reaction, with Fr Tom Reese quoted in the Daily News calling the gathering "a very smart and courageous move" and, in the same paper, columnist Ronnie Polaneczky calling for a sale of the archbishop's mansion, a la Sean.
  • From the somewhat-local beat, if you live in the States, get ready to see Jim McGreevey everywhere you turn. The former governor of New Jersey -- who spun his scandal-induced fall from the nation's most powerful state office by declaring his (twice-married) self a "gay American" -- is prepping for the release of his tell-all memoir, The Confession, next Tuesday; the obligatory come-to-Oprah has already been taped, and word is that he'll also be appearing on Fox News. Expect some questions about his faith journey; in two gubernatorial runs, McGreevey made a lot of hay out of his up-from-the-bootstraps Irish Catholic ethic, being an NCR subscriber, etc. but was recently said to have "embraced" the Episcopal church.
  • And, lastly, the other side is now a much more interesting and contentious place: word's slipped out that Oriana Fallaci is dead. The legendary political journalist and, in her later years, legendarily outspoken social commentator, died in a Florence hospital after a years-long battle with cancer. She was 76. In her own way, Fallaci was a Ratzi fan -- out of deference for Europe's religious tradition, she came to refer to herself as a "Christian atheist," and the then-new Pope shocked and revolted many in Italy by inviting the author to Castel Gandolfo last summer for an evening of private conversation, which only became public knowledge after the fact. Previous Fallaci coverage here and here, and as one final tribute to her rallying cry -- which, though highly unpeaceful, was no less amusing -- on a count of three: one... two... three... "I BLOW IT UP!"
FYI, I'm considering a slight change of form: a daily post with a blast of stories from outside sources (like this one) as a standing feature, as opposed to making all of them stand-alone posts... Feel free to send your thoughts on the idea.