Interesting Weekend

Ralph McInerny, 1929-2010

Ralph McInerny was a bright light.

He patiently shone the teaching of St. Thomas Aquinas into the darkness of post-Vatican-II American Catholic life.

I had the privilege of taking Dr. McInerny to dinner when he visited Catholic University at my invitation in 2001.

His death is a great loss.  May he rest in peace.

…Federer won his Australian Open semifinal in straight sets. He did not face a single break point.

Can Andy Murray beat him in the Final–at 3:30 a.m. Eastern time tomorrow on ESPN2?

Does the full moon sometimes appear twice in a month? Yes, but…(Next blue moon: August 31, 2012.)

Speaking of Blue: Do I want the Hoyas to beat Duke real bad? Do I want it never to snow again in the history of the world?

Do bees buzz? Does Spock beam up?

…If you are young, and want to learn how to find God’s will for you, check out this website and this Facebook group.

Fig in Leaf

Just before the Lord Jesus embraced His bitter Passion, He sat on the Mount of Olives with His disciples and outlined the signs of the end of the world. Almost everything He said was utterly terrifying.

From where the Lord and the disciples were sitting, they could see the enormous Temple built by King Herod the Great.

“There will not be left one stone upon another that will not be thrown down,” Christ said.

And it got worse:

“Nation will rise against nation, kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes, famines…” “You will be beaten in synagogues…” “Brother will hand over brother to death…” “There will be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people.” “The sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from the sky, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.” “Unless the Lord had shortened the days, no living creature could be saved.”

(see Matthew 24, Mark 13, Luke 21)

It was a stunning, confusing discourse–more full of hellfire and brimstone than anything you have ever heard.

But then He concluded with a parable:

Consider the fig tree…When the buds burst open, you see for yourselves and know that summer is now near.

Consider the fig tree, budding. Consider the gentle warm air of the spring. Consider the prospect of a delicious fig, and of the shade under the tree.


Fear the doom. Death and judgment are terrifying prospects. The Temple was in fact completely demolished. Strife and strain await.

But only fear so much as you can while you are meditating on the bud of a fig tree, and imagining the air of spring, and savoring the prospect of a juicy Fig Newton.

Destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem by Nicholas Pouissin

P.S. Delpo rocked Federer again!

Just in Case…

…you were starting to worry that everyone in the world is rude and arrogant:


It is worthwhile listening to the whole speech. You will weep when he talks to his family.

My favorite line: “Have you ever got on your knees and prayed really hard for something?”

delpo and fed

I had two dreams this week.

One was to win the U.S. Open and the other one is to be like Roger.

One is done, but I need to improve a lot to be like you. You fought until the final point; you are a great champion.

–Juan Martin del Potro

Being classy never goes out of style.

100 Years of the Cathedral School for Boys

Andre Agassi, last to win U.S. Open in five-set Finals match
Andre Agassi, last to win U.S. Open in five-set Finals match
It has been a decade since a U.S.-Open Men’s Finals match went to five sets. Delpo just beat Federer in the fourth-set tiebreaker. The tall man is making Federer Federer. Very exciting…


My father, my brother, and I attended St. Albans School during some formative years of our lives. The school opened 100 years ago this fall.

I was pretty miserable at the time, but I thank God for my years at St. Albans.

lane johnstonI had more homework at St. Albans than I ever had in college or graduate school. The boys at the National Cathedral school were mean to each other, cruel. The cross-country coach made us run until we threw up.

But I came to understand four crucial things while I was a St.-Albans boy:

1. Being a gentleman is always its own reward.

2. The Church is as inevitable as the sun and/or moon.

3. Liberal Protestantism could not account for the truth of #1 and #2, so the discerning man looked to the Pope for clear teaching.

4. If you can write a clear sentence, you can make an impact in this world.

I wouldn’t be who I am without these precepts firmly entrenched in my mind. Therefore, I feel it is my duty to pray to God: “Vouchsafe thy blessing, we beseech Thee, O Lord, upon the School and upon all other works undertaken in thy fear and for thy glory,” as the St. Albans school prayer has it.

…More to come on Delpo and Roger…

Forgive me for saying this…


jason-campbell…but, of all the sports action in greater NYC this weekend, I am actually more fired up for tennis than I am for the Redskins’ season opener.

(Click here for my predictions about opening the season against the Giants last year. I predict a similar outcome tomorrow.)

I know that American men are supposed to scoff at tennis and live and breathe football. Football is the more ‘manly’ game.


televisionFirst of all, I take Serena over Jason Campbell any day.

Secondly, these intriguing questions are swirling in the clouds over Queens:

Will Nadal rally and hobble his way to victory?

Will Federer Federer?

OR: Will Delpo carry the tall-man banner into the tennis stratosphere?

…There are not enough hours in the day to take in all the excitement, my friends.

From His celestial perch, high above the New York metropolitan area, the good Lord will watch all the tennis in Queens and all the football in north Jersey simultaneously.

The rest of us will have to be content with channel-flipping.


Breakfast and Lunch at Wimbledon

Pete Sampras, Manual Santana, Rod Laver, Bjorn Borg, Ilie Nastase
Pete Sampras, Manual Santana, Rod Laver, Bjorn Borg, Ilie Nastase

Roger managed to pull out a victory in a Wimbledon Final that was even longer than last year (more games; less elapsed time–no rain delay this year).

Andy Roddick
Andy Roddick
Of course I couldn’t watch every minute of the match. I had to go to church.

But I can tell you this: Roddick won more games than Federer. Roger won two sets on tie-breakers. In fact, Roddick held serve every game he served (38 games)–until the 77th game of the match.

On the other hand, Roger had 50 aces. Fifty. He won his last three service games on something like fifteen serves.

In other words, this match was what happens when an irresistible force meets and immovable object. Awesome.

I always will be a Federer fan. Nonetheless:

1) The runner-up this year lost with more class than the runner-up last year.

2) The top prize for the day goes to Rod Laver. As soon as the sun began to shine on the royal box at Centre Court, Laver produced a straw hat with a green ribbon. He nestled it smartly on his head.

Roger Grand Slam + Outlook Answered

roger trophyFederer beat Robin Soderling in less than two hours. Now Roger has won all four Grand Slam tournaments.

At one point during the NBC broadcast, Ted Robinson asked John McEnroe to comment: “Federer and Tiger Woods have struck up a friendship. This would be Federer’s fourteenth major title. Woods has won fourteen majors…”

lewis 2McEnroe: “Let’s not bring golf into this.”

…Meanwhile, Orlando’s Rashard Lewis is sporting a Moses beard for the NBA Finals.

The Game 1 blow-out was a hiccup. Game 2 went to overtime. Very tough loss for the Magic.

…This morning I read an essay in favor of legal abortion.

Here is the reasoning, as I would summarize it: It is unfair to condemn a pregnant woman for being pregnant. The anti-abortion position involves judging the woman for sin. Therefore, the generous-hearted thing to do is to offer abortion as a way out of a shameful situation.

speed bumpThis would make sense, if…

1. The pro-life position really were a matter of hypocritical moralizing against the mother, and if

2. There were no innocent third party involved in an abortion.


1. The pro-life position is NOT based on a moral judgment of the mother.

A woman can become pregnant by commiting a sin, or without commiting a sin. Whether or not the mother committed a sin when she became pregnant is a separate matter, and that matter really is private. It is the one part of the whole thing that really is “between a woman and her priest/minister/etc.”

2. There IS an innocent third party involved in an abortion (who gets killed).

Fornication is wrong, sure enough. Shouldn’t happen.

But I am not against abortion because fornication is wrong. I think abortion should be illegal because it involves killing an innocent human being.

Strength, Sadness, Etc.

anaxagorasSomeone once asked the ancient Greek philosopher Anaxagoras, “What were you born for?”

He replied, “For seeing.”

More on this later…

…In the nineteenth century, the King of Uganda kept a large court of young male pages.

On Ascension Day in 1886 (123 years ago yesterday), King Mwanga had some 25 of these pages burned alive.

Continue reading “Strength, Sadness, Etc.”