At the end of June, Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen’s remains were transferred from the Archdiocese of New York to the Diocese of Peoria in Illinois. The transfer was preceded by three years of litigation between the diocese where Archbishop Sheen served as a priest and became a popular radio personality and the archdiocese where he served as an auxiliary bishop and became a TV star. The fact that two Catholic dioceses went to court in a dispute for the remains of a saintly man may seem odd, but actually it is part of a long tradition.
While celebrating the Fourth of July this week, I remembered the first time I spent the holiday in the United States almost three decades ago. I grew up in Cuba, where the celebration of national holidays — as with almost any aspect of daily life — was run by the government.
Today, we conclude Religious Freedom Week. The theme this year is “Strength in Hope.” The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops invites us to “pray, reflect and take action on religious liberty, both here in this country and abroad.”
The time we spend stuck in traffic in Brooklyn should be discounted from our time in purgatory, a friend of mine used to say. People visiting from other parts of the country have a hard time believing that a 15-mile commute usually takes an hour and 15 minutes or more. Now school is out and children are on vacation. You feel the change — but it is still a good hour ride.
While preparing this edition of The Tablet, I received a letter from Brother Ed Kent, one of the jubilarians we honor in the paper this week. He has been a Franciscan brother for 60 years – a lifetime of service to the Gospel and to the people of God in Brooklyn and Queens.
Last Saturday, Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio ordained four young men to the priesthood: Father Pedro Francisco Angucho López, 31; Father Michael Francis Falce, 26; Father JohnPaul Kodiri Columbus Obiaeri, 34; and Father Edwin Alexander Ortiz, 35. The ordination of new priests is always joyous news for the Church in general, and for the diocese where they are destined to serve in particular.
In a recent article, a columnist from The New York Times wrote: “China is engaging in internment, monitoring or persecution of Muslims, Christians and Buddhists on a scale almost unparalleled by a major nation in three-quarters of a century.”
Since his playing days, legendary Yankee catcher Yogi Berra has been famous for his curiously worded statements. My favorite Yogism is probably an apocryphal one about a popular restaurant: “Nobody goes there anymore – it’s too crowded.” It is unintentionally wise and revealing. I imagine he meant to say that he and his friends used to go to that place – wherever it was – but at a certain point, it became so popular and crowded that they stopped visiting it.
My friend and I were at Citi Field on a cool Friday evening. He is not religious, but the Mets were ahead 8-0 in the first inning, and he was ready to believe in miracles. He was in a good mood. Then, out of the blue, he asked me, “What about the Vatican’s new guidelines against sexual abuse? Shouldn’t they have just one simple rule, namely, ‘call 911’?”
While growing up in Cuba, I had a friend who used to say, “My dream is to live in a boring country.” I was thinking about his wish while reading the news coming from Venezuela during the last weeks.