The hardest thing about dissertation land is its complete lack of structure. I've been trying to dive into work after finishing teaching and things have not gone so well. I have dipped into some charters and read a couple of articles, but that's about it (one account of a trial did contain an oath that was interesting because of the religious language in it). So... Monday. I promise. If any of my blogging friends find me leaving long comments on their blogs Monday morning, say to me, "Very interesting, Liam... NOW GET TO WORK."
I plan to rest this weekend. Last weekend was the First Communion of Filius imperatricis pulcherrima Africae occidentalis with party afterwards, both of which were great, but I could have rested more. The Mass was at ten o'clock on Saturday, and I awoke to find I had no more coffee in the house (serious concern). I found myself in the horrible situation of being at a Starbuck's at 8:00 AM Saturday morning surrounded by peppy people in jogging attire, all of this at a time at which all good Christian women and men should be at home sleeping off their gin. Not good.
A couple of things to comment on: The Catholic blogosphere is buzzing about the Vatican's restriction of the ministry of the 86-year old founder of the Legionaries of Christ, Father Marcial Marciel Degollado (whose second last name means in Spanish, curiously enough, "one whose throat has been cut"). Marciel has been accused of several cases of sexual abuse and although he has not been removed from the priesthood, he can no longer preside at public masses or give conferences. There will be no formal canonical procedure against the founder of the conservative organization due to his advanced age, but according to the National Catholic Reporter, "In effect, Vatican sources told NCR this week, the action amounts to a finding that at least some of the accusations against the charismatic 86-year-old Mexican priest are well-founded."
There is more than one way to look at this. Marciel was held in great esteem by the late Pope John Paul II, who praised him publicly, so this could mean that the Church actually is getting serious about the issue and that even high-ranking and influential churchmen are not free from facing the consequences of their reprehensible actions. On the other hand, the fact that their will be no canonical procedure could mean that there is no formal condemnation and the Church is once again responding to sexual abuse by evasive tactics more concerned with image than justice. I myself have not decided what to think of the whole thing, but I have heard these different evaluations of the situation.
Yesterday I actually left the neighborhood and went to go see a movie: The Proposition, with a screenplay by Nick Cave. It was a brutal Australian Western: imagine Sam Peckinpah meets Joseph Conrad. The New York Times has a good review of it. Then I went to my favorite restaurant in New York, Fried Dumpling, which stands nobly between Chinatown and the Lower East Side, and offers five tasty dumplings for a dollar. Lovely.
Now, I would like to write something completely absurd:
The young Lady Flatterswhip grew bored of her surroundings. Bored of the Sussex estate, bored of the visits from the vicar, bored of the rose garden and tea parties, bored of the longshoremen and zebras that mysteriously congregated around the front drive of the manor on alternate Tuesdays. She even longed on occasions for what now seemed like the happy bygone days of the Mongolian prison. Dreading the oncoming storm of social obligations as croquet season approached, the only relief for her came from a letter in the hand of her brother Denby in South America, which brought with it the shocking news that...