Tuesday, 2 August 2022

I don’t get it. Rules are rules for some people.

The above photo shows what some people leave behind after a flight, especially during a long flight, particularly in coach class, where passengers usually board with their water, food, and entertainment devices. If you haven’t seen anything like this, I am sure you have seen something similar.

In recent years, a couple of routines have developed to avoid such trash not only for the sake of the passengers but also for the cleaning staff, which is under enormous pressure to quickly tidy up and sanitize the plane for the next flight. First, cabin attendants usually pass through the cabin several times before landing calling out “Trash” while carrying a plastic bag with latex-gloved hands. Second, announcements are made about picking up around you (along with trays up, seats forward in upright positions with seat belts fastened). Some people heed the announcement while others do not. Hence my topic for the day: People who don’t follow instructions on a flight.

One: Pick up trash. I do not see what is so difficult about heeding this call. It seems only natural that people would want to throw away an accumulation of trash before landing. A turbulent landing, a hot landing (landing at higher than usual speed), and even a sudden abort (a go-around) could place that trash in your lap! Even after several announcements and the resounding “Trash, trash,” one still sees plastic cups, napkins, etc., stuffed into seat pockets and on the floor. I don’t get it.

Two: Raise window shades. The reason behind this is an FAA rule. Cabin attendants have 90 seconds to try to move passengers to emergency exits. Having the shades up, even at night, helps them to identify outdoor conditions. On a recent flight from Tampa, Florida, to Panama, I estimated that 80% of window shades were left down after multiple ‘requests’ in two different languages. People are too jaded, thinking one landing is just like another. As for me, I like to look out the window while landing and taking off. Newer airliners have resolved this issue by installing sensitive windows which can be controlled universally by the lead flight attendant, much like cabin lighting, which, incidentally, is turned off during night landings to reduce window glare that impedes the attendants’ view. Why can’t some passengers do as they are politely requested? I don’t get it.

Finally: Make sure your handbags, computers, purses, etc., are stored safely under the seat ahead of you. This, of course, is another safety-related requirement. If something is not secure under a seat, it can easily become a dangerous projectile upon landing. Also, it could hinder exiting the row in an emergency. I understand we are anxious to get off the plane but come on. I don’t get it.

I could go on and on, but I won’t because that’s another annoyance on a flight, the constant complainer! We all want a ‘happy’ landing.

https://www.bing.com/images/search 1930’s Happy Landing board game by Bell, London.

Monday, 1 August 2022

With renewed vigor after two months off and the inspiration of children…

A couple of observations from the streets of Panamá.

The first observation is about the excitement of young children and how wonderful it is. The other day, I was walking to my barber shop, and a huge dump truck was bellowing its way down a crowded street next to me. It was huffing and puffing in its many forced stops and advances amidst the traffic of much smaller vehicles. It was a big white truck and surprisingly white (the cab was not dirty) for a dump truck. Its engine roared with each advance, and its brakes sounded like amplified violins tuning up before a concert.

Imagine this on a narrow city street as I describe the scene.

To my right, coming out of a door, was a little girl and her tall father. She was so excited to see the marvel of the truck passing right before her. She raised her arm, pointing at the truck to ensure her father did not miss the excitement. He noticed and shared equally in his daughter’s delight as he gave her the word to describe what she was seeing, “Camión! (truck!)”

Their excitement caught me and lifted me high up to a kind of joyful ecstasy. What surprised me was that I was not observing their lives or paying attention to the truck. Nor was I living vicariously through them. I think I was actually sharing their lives. Days later, I can still hear and see the white truck, the little girl and her father, and the way he joyfully proclaimed as if gospel, “Camión!”

The second observation came from Mass at the National Sanctuary of Panama. Most people were silently praying on their knees or seated during the Communion Rite. From nowhere came a little girl calmly walking alone but obviously looking for mama. She caught everyone’s eye, momentarily focused on such cuteness.

She walked serenely, and I emphasize serenely because that is my point in this story, down the middle aisle where she saw her mother coming toward the center aisle in a row of pews, waving to ensure that the little girl saw her. She did, and we all turned back to prayer, or might I say we all continued in prayer, having been newly inspired. After all, had we not all witnessed a joyful reunion, a sacramental encounter akin to Sacramental Union at a Catholic Mass?

I took from this brief experience that the little girl did not seem to suffer anxiety. She did not appear to be frightened as she looked for her mother. On the contrary, she seemed to be much at home in her church, where she instinctively knew she was with family. She knew her environment clearly: long aisles, long pews, people, statues, and colored windows. Her church was not spooky to her. I was happy for her because she knew where she was and that her mother was somewhere in an enormous room among the family.

Tuesday, 25 May 2022


James, the first bishop of Jerusalem and generally accepted author of the biblical Letter of James, mentions the wind in a dramatic treatise on the power of the human tongue. He writes, “If we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we also guide their whole bodies. It is the same with ships: even though they are so large and driven by fierce winds, they are steered by a very small rudder. In the same way the tongue is a small member yet has great pretensions.” (3:3-5). The winds to which he was referring were more than likely the Etesian, Sharkiya, Sharav and Khamsin winds. These are still the dominant winds of the far eastern Mediterranean. James was right, aside from learning to curb the power of our tongues, the winds of the globe are a mighty force to which we humans are pretty much submissive.

The reason I am thinking about winds is because Panama just received some winds that came all the way from the Saharan Desert! To say the least, I was surprised to learn of this as Africa seems so far away. It is, but Africa did not come, just the winds that blew over the Sahara, bringing to Panama some dusty desert air.

The photo on the left shows the hazy condition looking to the northeast from the Obarrio area of Panama City. It’s amazing that this haze is dust from Africa! The winds have died down and the mountainous area is much more visible. Look, though, at the heavy cloud hanging over the east side of the city. This cloud is moving toward downtown Panama City. This rainfall of Caribbean moisture was heavy.

To the north of Panama, places such as the Yucatan, Caribbean islands, and the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of the United States are now preparing for the Hurricane Season. Panama, that I know of, does not have hurricanes, but its position plays a part in redirecting the African winds clockwise up to Florida and the Gulf of Mexico. It is odd, but the prelude to the Hurricane Season of powerful winds and rain is a dusty/rainy season in the central part of Panama. My apartment windows are now covered with ‘dirty rain’ spots. This reminds me very much of the dirty rain on the monsoon season in the Sonoran Desert.

This map shows that Africa just blows and blows eastward, and that Panama escapes the hurricanes that develop over the Atlantic continue westward or curl northeasterly. This does not mean however that Panama does not have tropical storms. Believe me, we do. We get our fair share of rain from late March to late November. This is a good thing because the rain keeps the Panama Canal operating.

Anyway, now, when I look northeasterly through the grime on my office window, I think of how small the world is to the mighty world winds.

Wednesday, 18 May 2022


The few who read this blog have noticed my absence. A few reasons: 1.) I’ve been busy editing footnotes and a bibliography for a doctoral dissertation; 2.) I’ve been on the road lately; 3.) I’ve been uninspired; 4.) I’ve been lazy.

Laziness manifests itself in trying to avoid the amount of time it takes to write a blog. As you know, I start with a basic thought and then expand it via the technique called stream of consciousness. This is all well and good, but my mind took me into more research than is necessary. So, many of the earlier blogs turned out to be essays a la term paper.

One reader responded to my blog about the television show, What’s My Line. I liked what he said and was more so pleased that someone read it, thought about it and responded. Another kind and observant reader responds from time to time, letting me know about the nostalgia I may have piqued. I also appreciate this type of comment. One reader simply commented that she prefers whimsical stories and those about my day-to-day life.

These comments made me think that I need to, as is said, ‘shake it up.’ So, my theme today, and I shall be brief, is K.I.S.S. This is a doctrine.

A couple of vignettes come to mind as I apply this doctrine to the past. The first is from years ago, when I had become too verbose in a written exam. Instead of slashing out in red ink that which was not necessary to what I wrote, the teacher wrote on the paper (Not even in the margin!), “Just say it!” Close to this experience was the time I concocted a flowery and lengthy answer in a theology course exam. The teacher wrote, “This is a beautiful answer, but it has nothing to do with my question.” Wow!

In those days, I don’t think that K.I.S.S. meant anything aside from bi-labial to bi-labial communication. But now I know what it means and plan to add it to my writing critique. I think I did well.

Monday, 25 April 2022


Yesterday, after the 9 AM Mass, I decided that I should take a walk. My regular path is right across the street from the church so I joined the route there and walked down to the Bay of Panama. It’s not a long walk to the bay, but as in all walks, if you pay attention to details, you will see and feel a lot.

Coffee shops were open along the tree-lined boulevard and, as on Sunday and holiday mornings, traffic was light. This is always nice because in Panama traffic usually includes lots of honking. The quietness can give you feeling of being in a park rather than in a city of 1.5 million people. The first part of my walk then is quite peaceful, which encourages a slower pace than my normal rush.

Traffic picks up as I approach the major thoroughfares that flow along the sea. There are lots of massive hotels and residential high-rises along the waterfront. These are all lined by Balboa Avenue, the ‘Park Avenue’ of Panama City.

My walk brings me to Urracá Park (above photo). From this photo, you can see that the park has lots of activity spaces, especially dog walking. You can also see Balboa Avenue, the street under the curly foot bridge. This is the crossover walkway that I use to get across Balboa to arrive at another activity area and yet another footbridge that crosses the southside coastal freeway. From the bridge’s end, I am right at the bay. What is pleasant about all this is that on Sundays from 6 AM to noon the coastal beltway is closed so there is peace and quiet and a safety zone for people to walk, ride bikes, rollerblade, etc.

You can easily hear the difference between normal weekday traffic and the quiet no-car southside freeway. This photo doesn’t show it, but just imagine as closed to auto traffic the left lanes closest to the bay. Parking lots become safe ranges for kids to practice their bicycle skills, as seen below.

Once I’m at the walkway by the bayfront, I usually find a bench in the shade and people and dog watch. There are so many varieties of dogs and being a dog-person, I love to see them lazily walk by me or scamper by on the grass. One little Jack Russell yesterday was off his leash and took the opportunity to greet his fellow canines. I am positive that leashes are required, but there is always someone who thinks that his or her dog is perfect and won’t bother anybody.

It is along such a path that I came across a little boy investigating a wall of bright orange flowers. They all looked alike, but he was looking for just the right tiny flower. His mother and a friend looked on while the boy made his choice. As soon as he plucked the petals, the first thing he did was to run and give them to his mother. It was a great moment of pure humanity. The friend turned toward me and smiled as if to say, “You know what this is all about.” We were all smiles.

Yes, I did know what was happening and what a delight it was to see the child give the perfect gift to his mother. I had done that myself some 63 years earlier when my mother gratefully received dandelions and lilacs and forsythia from me and from each of her eight children as they grew. In the end when we were all grown and out of the house, it was my father who took up the duty and gave a rose to my mother every day.

Do you see what I would have missed had I not taken that walk?

Thursday, 21 April 2022

Image borrowed from Bing Images


My thoughts about ‘What’s My Line?,’ the television game show are not very deep. I have been bingeing on this show for the last few evenings. Many of you know that this game show aired in the United States from 1950-1975. I have been watching only the episodes which aired from the beginning and into 1967. From this series, you might recognize these faces:

From left to right are seen regular panelists Dorothy Kilgallen, Arlene Davis, and Bennett Cerf. John Daly was the moderator for the show from 1950 through 1967. All of them were famous in their own right and those who watched the show know that they were introduced either by a narrator or by each other. Dorothy Kilgallen is introduced as the writer of “Voice of Broadway, which is published coast to coast.” Arlene Francis is a “star of television and the stage” while Mr. Cerf is introduced as the famous publisher of Random House, which he founded. John Daly was a well-known news writer and journalist and for the show, he was introduced as a word wizard. There was also a guest panelist and, from time to time, a replacement panelist.

Challengers to the illustrious panel were from all around the world and their occupations were revealed for the television and theatre viewers. It was the job of the panelists to discern what the occupations are by way of asking questions whose answers should be either yes or no. If a contestant passes through 10 no answers, he or she wins the game and fifty dollars. That sounds like a measly prize by today’s standard, but the fifty dollars then would have a purchase power of $588.62 today according to http://www.in2013dollars.com/us/inflation/1950?amount=50.

Besides ‘regular folk,’ each episode included a mystery guest for whom the panelists would have to be blindfolded before he or she would enter and ‘sign in.’ Perhaps, you recognize some of them?

Here’s a link to the entire cast of regular, guest and mystery panelists: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0042168/fullcredits/

For me, it is fun to watch these episodes even though I would be cognizant of a few of the episodes from perhaps the last couple of years, 1966 and 1967. The show aired on Sunday nights and since this series ran well before satellite tv, I likely would have seen it on CBS, the only network affiliated with the show’s production.

Here are a few things that I noticed about the early shows that would not be seen or heard on today’s game programs.

  • Guests and panelists all dressed impeccably in suits, gowns and dresses.
  • Language was always polite, never foul. Everyone was referred to as Miss, Mr., Mrs., except the mystery guests who were called by their stage names. Language use was also grammatically correct.
  • The best-looking female challengers were usually greeted with cat calls. Pity the less-beautiful woman who signed-in to no whistles! In fact, Bennett Cerf seemed always to comment on a female guest’s ‘physique,’ as he called it. Sometimes, a male physique was commented upon, especially in the questions when ‘fat’ was often used to describe a heavy person.
  • The geographical expanse of the country was emphasized with welcoming words such as, “We are always pleased to have someone from the other coast of our country.” or “It is not often we have someone from Iowa.” In one episode a female chiropractor was welcomed from Alaska before it was even a state so her visit seemed almost like that of someone from Europe.
  • There seemed to be an obsession with making sure that home viewers knew where the panelists travelled during the week, explaining sometimes why they were not panelists for a particular episode. Audiences were informed, for example, that Bennett Cerf was on vacation in Miami at the Fontainebleau Hotel or that Mr. Daly was on assignment in Tokyo.
  • Aside from whistling, the audience was polite and contained. They laughed a lot, which often signaled clues to the panelists, but there was no boisterous, screeching screams as one might hear today. In fact, I have yet to see an episode where the viewer sees the audience.
  • The programs were live productions in most cases. I remember a few episodes where references were made to snowy weather and the audience and guests were thanked for coming to the studio in inclement weather.

Like I said, these are not or meant tobe deep thoughts, but just comments that made me reflect on cultural changes in the United States. If you’ve seen these episodes when they aired or by way of Youtube and other networks, you will likely understand my comments and that you are able to draw your own conclusions.

Wednesday, 13 April 2022

Exodus 6:6 New American Bible (Revised Edition)

Therefore, say to the Israelites: I am the Lord. I will free you from the burdens of the Egyptians and will deliver you from their slavery. I will redeem you by my outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment. 


Passover and the Holy Triduum are upon us. For me, this is a great season to understand the roots of Christianity in Judaism. Crucial to the Seder Meal of Pesach (Passover), which recalls the rescue of the Israelites from their Pharaonic oppressor is the reading of the Haggadah. This text is led by the oldest person at the table, but all are involved, especially the young because the reading of the Haggadah fulfills a mitzvah (good work) that the elderly are supposed to pass on to the young ones the story of God’s deliverance of his people.

Pertinent to the context is what God tells Moses to relay the Israelites in captivity, which is found in Exodus 6:6-7. Their response, however, is a deaf ear. They are mired in too many problems to take the message seriously. God then enjoins Moses to tell Pharaoh to let the people go free. Moses’ response is perfect: If the people do not listen to me, Pharoah will certainly not listen to me! And Moses is correct, so proof of God’s ultimate power will be demonstrated in the ten plagues to follow and the eventual path (exodus) to freedom.

I have been reflecting on the three promises God relays through Moses to his feeling-disinherited people. These promises are in line 6 of chapter 6 of the Book of Exodus. These promises are life-giving to Jew and Christian alike. Catholics, and I suppose other mainstream Christians, recount this pattern of promise in the seven readings from the Old Testament, a sort of elongated Haggadah or telling of the story of redemption.

Therefore, say to the Israelites (Exodus 6:6):

  1. I am the Lord. I will free you from the burdens of the Egyptians
  2. and will deliver you from their slavery.
  3. I will redeem you by my outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment.
Image borrowed https://www.baslibrary.org/biblical-archaeology-review/25/1/5
  1. In this case, we focus on those burdens which are not self-imposed, but only by other people.  These burdens constitute a denial of human dignity which is divinely safeguarded by a promise.  What are these burdens?  Unjust imprisonment; human trafficking; child labor; unjust wages; blackmail, etc.  Even while in these states, God knows human dignity, for having created us from nothing, God sees himself in us, however indistinct we may be.  His oversight guarantees our freedom, despite contradictory realities.
  2. Important in this promise is the implied future.  God will deliver.  Here, we recognize the sense of movement both in celestial and terrestrial terms.  Oddly though, divine stability or perfect peace is juxtaposed against earthly instability, if not constant chaos.  Celestial movement therefore is redundant in the heavens and only viable or life-giving when active in creation.  To be delivered then is a constancy, an opportunity to be free in mind and in body.  True deliverance then is implied in a time and a place to come and thereafter forever.
  3. Redemption is worked in physicality.  Just as the second promise indicates that heaven does not need movement because it exists on its own divine terms, redemption is constituted in the physical world by physicality, that is in our world that is constantly in need of the vigor of redemption.  This is God’s physical movement in the world by the use of physical things such as a righteous one, Abraham, for example or Elijah, a person who will announce the fulfillment of redemption.  Humans struggle to comprehend the spiritual/physical duality of redemption.  We tend to accept that which we can observe and overlook the animating divine force at work and visible in the sensate world.  God must know this human fragility and his promise to redeem therefore in a way that human senses and human intelligence can both ascertain and comprehend.
Image borrowed from https://collections.mfa.org/objects/33665, Museum of Fine Arts Boston.

Happy Passover and in the words of Tiny Tim, “God bless us one and all!”

Friday, 25 March 2022

Image borrowed from bing search


In my blog of 4 March 2022, I mentioned that I am reading a book called What Did You Do During the War Sister? (Dennis J. Turner, Cincinnati: Cincinnati Book Publishing, 2nd ed., 2020) I commend it to you. Well, I have about concluded the read and have found many interesting references that concern not only my own holocaust research, but also those that criss-cross experiences in my own life. This convergence is about salutes.

The setting is 4 August 1944 in Namur, Belgium where the city was enjoying its first brief breath of temporary liberation. The fictional character Sister Christina recounted an amusing rapport between nuns and the American soldiers. She wrote: “It was the custom in those early days of the liberation for sisters to exchange salutes with the soldiers. The soldiers might wave at civilians, but rarely salute them. For some reason, they enjoyed trading salutes with sisters and nuns. When a sister was spotted on the road by one of the soldiers in a truck, he would alert his comrades to be ready to salute. … So I was not surprised when I heard a boyish voice call out, “Hello, sister!. …I tried to duplicate their crisp, military salute and offered a prayer for their safety.” (165)

Given the circumstance, there is something special about the sincerity and formality of a salute. I emphasize the circumstance because we all probably have in fun mimicked a military salute or received one. I suspect there was some fun in nuns saluting soldiers and vice-versa, but the image of it made me think of the one time in my whole life when I was officially saluted. I was in Rome with my nephew to celebrate his Confirmation and one of the days of the trip included a papal audience.

We were nearing the Paul VI Center and approached a member of the Swiss Guard. All of a sudden, he saluted me! I was caught by surprise, but to this day I remember how the salute raised me self-esteem to the level of pride.

Paul VI Audience Hall or also known as the Hall of the Pontifical Audiences

There are many types of salutes. One of the most interesting salutes that no longer exists with such nomenclature is the Bellamy Salute. Below in the photo taken in 1941, you will easily why the salute was banned on 22 December 1942.

This salute to the flag accompanied the pledge of allegiance, written by Francis Bellamy and was common in circa 1890s through 1942. The Bellamy salute was mistakenly copied from the so-called Roman salute. Unfortunately, this salute was invented by artists and film writers; There is no physical evidence that Roman soldiers ever used such a salute. No matter because it was also picked up by the Nazi party. Obviously, the flag salute as it was used in the United States sparked controversy and Congress abolished its use and replaced it with a hand positioned over one’s heart while reciting the pledge to the flag.

Something similar, but coincidental sometimes occurs when members of a church congregation are invited to join in a blessing. To the untrained eye, such a blessing can look similar to the Bellamy salute, the Roman salute or the Nazi salute. This was called to my attention by a visitor to and observer of one of the liturgies where I presided. I did not invite the congregation to raise their hands, but in some communities, it was taught and encouraged somewhere along the line of preceding clergy and so whenever I would raise my hands in a blessing, the community would automatically follow suit. Of course, no Nazi affiliation was intended, but as our guest kindly pointed out, it could be construed to look to be so to the unknowing eye.

Akin to this…the priest clearly holds two hands up and open while some of the schoolgirls mimic with one hand in various unintended poses.

My sincere salutations, without a hand gesture, to you!

Sunday , 20 March 2022

Image borrowed from https://www.cidi.nl/kwart-van-jonge-israelis-zijn-bang-voor-antisemitisme-tijdens-hun-buitenlandreis/ at http://www.bing.com/images


From the Declaration on the Relation of the Church to Non-Christian Religions NOSTRA AETATE (In Our Time) Proclaimed by His Holiness Pope Paul VI on October 28, 1965: In our time, when day by day mankind is being drawn closer together, and the ties between different peoples are becoming stronger, the Church examines more closely her relationship to non-Christian religions. In her task of promoting unity and love among men, indeed among nations, she considers above all in this declaration what men have in common and what draws them to fellowship.

This important and often-overlooked document of the Second Vatican Council proposes three commonalities of humankind are also those that draw members of humankind together: 1.) There truly exists a ‘community of all peoples’; 2.) There truly is a common origin for humankind, ‘God made the whole human race’; 3.) There truly exists a final goal for humankind, ‘the elect will be united in the Holy City…where the nations will walk in His light.’

My topic, antisemitism, applies to the mindset of those members of humanity who would exclude Jews from these aforementioned commonalities. An ugly word and more so a despicable attitude and action in humanity, antisemitism is not the exclusive sin of Christianity, but this is how I am using the term. Let me explain. Some people propose that antisemitism began with Christianity, but most historians and theologians agree that pagan antisemitism has roots in pre-Christian times. This historical consideration is not an exemption for Christianity, but a special shame because Christianity grew from Judaism.

This Lenten period prepares Christians to enter more deeply into what is called the Paschal Mystery, the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus. Immediately preceding Easter, we will be reading passages from the Bible which, if not properly understood, lend an easement into antisemitic attitudes and actions. Especially when we read the Passion of Jesus Christ, we tend to focus on Judas, the Jewish betrayer and to the cry, ” His blood be upon us and upon our children” (Matthew 27:25). This last phrase is found only in Matthew’s Gospel and this peculiarity puts forward the question an insightful question, “Why only in Matthew?”

For centuries, this question was not adequately examined and even it were, the explanation to the question would not have satisfied a long-standing belief that Jews were totally responsible for the death of Jesus, the paramount of reasons for Christian antisemitism. Nostra Aetate, however, took heed not only of this response to the question, but other historical and biblical scholarship, and dared to say, “…what happened in His passion cannot be charged against all the Jews, without distinction, then alive, nor against the Jews of today” (part 4).

Nostra Aetate is important to me not only as a Holocaust researcher, but as a priest who every year presides at Holy Week and Triduum liturgies. When the congregation shouted, “Crucify him’ with such vengeance it was not difficult to take the command personally for not every pastor is beloved! The dramatic response, however, highlighted for me the misinformed energy of the congregation. Their enthusiasm might be a kind of unintended result of centuries of Christian liturgical antisemitism. It was not impossible during the reading of the passion that many people truly believed that the Jews killed Christ.

What to do? Of course, through years of preaching, I did my best to make the point that Nostra Aetate is the Church’s teaching about who killed Christ. It is ironic but the Holy Week and Triduum liturgies tend to be long and the reading of the passion is partially to blame for this and so a lengthy catechetical homily was not the best solution to passing on this crucial insight into the Church’s 1965 teaching. Such a homily would likely have fallen on already-text-stuffed ears.

Instead, I when reading certain texts, I added the word, ‘some’ as in some of the Jews. It made me feel better for not further contributing to the problem and I suspect that most listeners did not notice. But, after a Mass, a former Jew stopped me and asked if I had added the word ‘some’ or whether it was actually part of the text. I told the parishioner that I had slipped the word in. His reaction was complete stupefaction! He said that, as a former Jew, he was so tired of the annual beating of the drum that reminded him that he was responsible for the death of Jesus, his blood brother in Judaism and his blood redeemer in Christianity. His relief was palpable.

As we near Hoy Week, the Triduum, and the Easter season, it is good for all Christians to become aware of or pass on Nostra Aetate to those who might still be unaware of this important Catholic teaching. To this end, I highly recommend reading (again) Nostra Aetate (In our Time), a two-page document which can be found at this link: Nostra aetate (vatican.va)

Further, excellent historical and biblical insight is offered in four excellent and brief videos pertaining to this very subject. The topics include:

  1. Judas and Betrayal (“Do you betray me with a kiss?”) with Ruth Langer and Jesper Svartvik 
  2. The Jewish Leaders and Conspiracy (“Looking for a way to arrest Jesus…and kill him.”) with Katharina von Kellenbach and Peter A. Pettit
  3. The Jewish Crowd, Pilate, and Guilt (“His blood be on us and our children.”) with Victoria Barnett, Philip Cunningham, and Adam Gregerman
  4. The Crucifixion and Accountability (“And they took him away and crucified him.”) with Mary Boys, John Pawlikowski, and Elena Procario-Foley 

These can be found at: ICCJ: Passion Video Series

I am indebted to labors of the Christian Scholars Group (in collaboration with the Council of Centers on Jewish-Christian Relations (CCJR) and the International Council of Christians and Jews (ICCJ)) and to Boston College’s Center for Christian-Jewish Learning for the explicit permission to share their compilation of the videos in a series called, “Presenting the Passion … without blaming “the Jews”.

Pope Francis embraces Argentine Rabbi Abraham Skorka after praying at the Western Wall in Jerusalem May 26. Looking on is Omar Abboud, Muslim leader from Argentina. “We did it,” Rabbi Skorka said he told the pope and Abboud. The pope’s message contained the text of the Our Father and of the 122nd Psalm, traditionally prayed by Jewish pilgrims who travel to Jerusalem. (CNS photo/Paul Haring) (May 26, 2014) See POPE-INTERRELIGIOUS May 26, 2014.

Monday, 7 March 2022

Borrowed from my personal photo collection


I am 66 years and almost four months old and I am learning a lot about the details of housekeeping. For nearly 33 years I have lived in rectories where I was honored to have a housekeeper. For the first 20 years of my life, I lived at home and my housekeeping responsibilities were minimal. Every Saturday morning, all of us kids had a chore to complete, beginning with cleaning our own bedrooms. By the way, or parenthetically, a friend who grew up in Pittsburgh told me recently that he would have said ‘redd up’ the room, … Pittsburghese for to clean the room.

Now, retired, I’m on my own and am learning anew or being reminded of what I had forgotten about keeping house…it’s all about cleaning! The first thing that I learned from reality is that no one is going to clean, do dishes, launder, except me. Lots of people have help, but I remind myself that this is not a good option when retired and hindered by the so-called fixed income. Me, myself, and I.

When I first started living here on a more permanent basis, I declared that Monday would be the cleaning day. The routine was: 1.) light colors laundry, dark colors laundry, drying, folding and ironing; 2.) toilet, sinks and shower cleaning; 3.) dusting (enough said); 4.) floor cleaning. My floor is bamboo so this is easily done with a spray wet mop. Anyway, Mondays became less and less the rule as weeks passed!

Now, I clean as needed, which requires less discipline, but it also makes cleaning more erratic and more difficult in that I find myself doing odd chores throughout the week rather than just in one day. My schedule allows for such irregularity, and I also am taking more time to figure out how the work can be done more efficiently.

A great stride was made just recently when a friend gifted me with a vacuum cleaner. Using a vacuum is much more effective in picking up dust and even easy enough to do more often! One more step in the right direction is that the vacuum doesn’t have replaceable bags, but an easy-to-empty canister. Such modern living!

One of the things I vowed to not do is to get into the paper towel routine. They are used too easily and too often, and my paternal grandmother Gloy taught me the value of cloth towels and the magic of washing machines! This was in keeping with her generation, of course, but the lessons of old return to help economize.

To keep my vow, I bought a lot of cloth towels at Ikea. I use them like paper towels and have no qualms about using too many because the washing machine is always available and convenient in my apartment. Recently, however, I learned the value of microfiber. I bought a package of 24 of them for about 13.00 at a local hardware store. Talk about a game changer!

Now, it’s not that I have just learned of such a miracle cloth. This has been around a long time, but as I mentioned earlier, I really did not need to experience microfiber because I did not have to clean much in over 40 years. Now, I use them for everything: kitchen hand towel, duster, buffer, smudge remover, counter cleaner, wet spill picker-upper, sink cleaner and the list goes on! The kind reader thinks I am silly for being so giddy about such a discovery, but it’s new to me! As you can see from the photo above, they are colorful, fold and stack easily and are durable enough to endure multiple washings.

Such a discovery after so many years! The efficiency reminded me of my discovery of the original California duster, that wonderful hand mop that takes Arizona dust off a car to make it look like new. This and the microfiber cloth might be considered, by some house and car keepers, the greatest thing since sliced bread!