March 17th, 2004


Personal/Theology Notebook: Interviewing Bryan Massingale; Stroganoff; Filmmaking

The grad students had a fascinating lunch today with the candidate we're interviewing for a Moral Theology position, Fr. Bryan Massingale. If we don't get this guy, we are going to lose big-time. It's clear that a number of other schools are after him (including Notre Dame, which otherwise I'm all for--some shiftless person there told him that all the grad students here were psychologically-disturbed, so he should go to ND. Nice.), but I think we have a good chance as "fit" seems pretty good, although I imagine some other schools might be offering more for their salaries. This guy, though, looks to be one of the best in Catholic Social Ethics in the next generation--he's already a significant presence; enough to credibly propose ways of moving beyond some of the impasse in ethics of the Curran/McCormick/JP2 generation--and I haven't seen this kind of poise, depth and articulation in any candidate that we've interviewed for any position since I've been here. I think he'll be fabulous in the classroom, both for grads and undergrads. Damn. Shawnee swears by him: he's the guy who got her into Social Ethics. And he's a confessed Star Trek fan: how much more well-rounded can you get? I'm no Moral Theologian, but I learned today that this was a guy to watch for the future....

Other than that, a day largely consumed by grading. Had dinner with Shawnee, mostly talking shop while eating a dish I'd never had before--chicken stroganoff--as well as getting a short lesson on the history of stroganoff from Jay (the chef), who also made me taste the Irish Stew he was brewing for tomorrow (too lamb-y for me). I also discovered later in the evening that I may have set a law-school acquaintance that I talk with at the Brew off on the making of a continents-spanning documentary film for the summer just by a random suggestion the other day. He and a friend are now looking into grants from PBS and such places and speculating on the need for a filmmaker, so I gave them my former student Eric Houston's name and stepped back to watch the madness ensue....

Random Nonsense/Theology Notebook: Italian Police Break Into Church to Install Priest

Italian Police Break Into Church to Install Priest
Mar 16, 10:42 am ET

ROME (Reuters) - Police in a small Italian town had to break into a church to let a priest take up his new job, thwarting a six-month blockade by parishioners devoted to his predecessor.

The faithful in the mountain town of Trasacco had jammed the church doors shut in protest after the Church transferred their Capuchin monk and sent a non-Capuchin to replace him.

So attached were parishioners to the Capuchins, who had served them for the last 430 years, that they briefly bricked the last friar into the local monastery to try to stop him leaving their town about 60 miles east of Rome.

The newcomer, Father Duilio Testa, was appointed in September but only entered his church on Monday when police broke in through a window to let him in, deputy mayor Vincenzo Retico told Reuters by telephone.

He said Testa would have his spiritual work cut out for him.

"How can the people welcome him now, arriving flanked by police?" he said.

"Everything that there is in this town today was built with the toil and sweat of the monks. They were part of our being."

The Capuchins are a branch of the Franciscan order, famed for their long white beards.

Ya gotta admire people with senses of loyalty, continuity and tradition. I myself would have said that the Capuchins were famed for their commitment to the poor, or at the very least for having cappuccino named after them, but then, this is a news service we're dealing with here. They're easily distracted and amused....