Angelus News | July 2, 2021 | Vol. 6 No. 13

On the cover: For a Christian, how important is taking care of the mind? This year’s “Books Issue” has a few ideas. On Page 10, Mike Aquilina interviews Catholic convert and writer Zena Hitz on her new book about “the pleasures of the intellectual life.” On Page 14, Angelus contributors share their picks for the best new books of the pandemic. And on Page 18, Elise Italiano Ureneck reviews a groundbreaking new book by a scholar with autism who sees his condition as an intellectual gift from God.

On the cover: For a Christian, how important is taking care of the mind? This year’s “Books Issue” has a few ideas. On Page 10, Mike Aquilina interviews Catholic convert and writer Zena Hitz on her new book about “the pleasures of the intellectual life.” On Page 14, Angelus contributors share their picks for the best new books of the pandemic. And on Page 18, Elise Italiano Ureneck reviews a groundbreaking new book by a scholar with autism who sees his condition as an intellectual gift from God.


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<strong>2021</strong><br />



THE MIND<br />


Why reading and thinking<br />

are good for the soul<br />

<strong>July</strong> 2, <strong>2021</strong> <strong>Vol</strong>. 6 <strong>No</strong>. <strong>13</strong>

<strong>July</strong> 2, <strong>2021</strong><br />

<strong>Vol</strong>. 6 • <strong>No</strong>. <strong>13</strong><br />

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For a Christian, how important is taking care of the mind? This year’s<br />

“Books Issue” has a few ideas. On Page 10, Mike Aquilina interviews<br />

Catholic convert and writer Zena Hitz on her new book about “the<br />

pleasures of the intellectual life.” On Page 14, <strong>Angelus</strong> contributors share<br />

their picks for the best new books of the pandemic. And on Page 18,<br />

Elise Italiano Ureneck reviews a groundbreaking new book by a scholar<br />

with autism who sees his condition as an intellectual gift from God.<br />



Sixteen men from around the<br />

Archdiocese of Los Angeles,<br />

seen above with their wives,<br />

were ordained permanent<br />

deacons Saturday, June 12, by<br />

Archbishop José H. Gomez.


Pope Watch................................................ 2<br />

Archbishop Gomez.................................. 3<br />

World, Nation, and Local <strong>News</strong>....... 4-6<br />

In Other Words......................................... 7<br />

Father Rolheiser........................................ 8<br />

Scott Hahn.............................................. 32<br />

Events Calendar..................................... 33<br />

18<br />

20<br />

22<br />

24<br />

26<br />

28<br />

30<br />

How autism has helped one man connect with God<br />

Pope Francis goes to a Manhattan Beach carmaker for his new ride<br />

Communion discussion reveals key question among U.S. bishops<br />

Why Catholics are on the run in Myanmar<br />

Greg Erlandson: Do we have an answer to society’s sex problem?<br />

‘The Conjuring 3’ and Hollywood’s exorcism fascination<br />

Heather King: The legend of LA’s book temple<br />

<strong>July</strong> 2, <strong>2021</strong> • ANGELUS • 1


Silence and storms<br />

In his <strong>Angelus</strong> message Sunday,<br />

June 20, Pope Francis offered a<br />

reminder that the Lord wants us<br />

to seek his presence in the trials and<br />

storms of life.<br />

“How often do we remain fixated on<br />

problems rather than going to the Lord<br />

and casting our concerns upon him?”<br />

the pope asked the pilgrims gathered<br />

in St. Peter’s Square.<br />

“Today, let us ask for the grace of a<br />

faith that never tires of seeking the<br />

Lord, of knocking at the door of his<br />

heart,” he said.<br />

Speaking from the window of the<br />

Vatican’s Apostolic Palace, the pope<br />

reflected on the Gospel account of<br />

the disciples caught in a storm at sea<br />

as Jesus slept on their boat. Filled<br />

with fear, the disciples cried out to the<br />

Lord, “Teacher, do you not care if we<br />

perish?”<br />

Pope Francis said: “Quite often, we,<br />

too, beaten by the trials of life, have<br />

cried out to the Lord: ‘Why do you<br />

remain silent and do nothing for me?’<br />

“Especially when it seems we are<br />

sinking, because of love or the project<br />

in which we have laid great hopes disappears;<br />

or when we are at the mercy<br />

of the unrelenting waves of anxiety; or<br />

when we feel we are drowning in problems<br />

or lost in the middle of the sea of<br />

life, with no course and no harbor.”<br />

The pope urged that it is important to<br />

remember that even though Jesus was<br />

sleeping on the boat during the storm<br />

with his disciples, the Lord was there.<br />

“The Lord is there, present. In fact,<br />

he expects — so to speak — that we<br />

will engage him, to invoke him, to<br />

put him at the center of what we are<br />

experiencing. His slumber causes us<br />

to wake up. Because to be disciples of<br />

Jesus it is not enough to believe God<br />

is there, that he exists, but we must put<br />

ourselves out there with him; we must<br />

also raise our voice with him, cry out<br />

to him,” he said.<br />

“Today we can ask ourselves: What<br />

are the winds that beat against my life?<br />

What are the waves that prevent my<br />

navigation and endanger my spiritual<br />

life, my family life, and my mental<br />

health as well? Let us tell all this to<br />

Jesus; let us tell him everything,” the<br />

pope said. “He wants this; he wants<br />

us to grab hold of him to find shelter<br />

from the unexpected waves of life.”<br />

The pope also marked World<br />

Refugee Day, and said that the day<br />

is a reminder to “open our hearts to<br />

refugees” and to “make their sadness<br />

and joys our own.”<br />

“May we learn from their courageous<br />

resilience. And so, all together, we will<br />

make a more human community grow<br />

as one big family,” he said.<br />

Pope Francis commented that this<br />

Sunday’s Gospel of the disciples<br />

caught in the storm at sea reminded<br />

him of the many refugees who travel<br />

in boats and cry out to God in their<br />

need.<br />

“This is the beginning of our faith:<br />

to recognize that alone we are unable<br />

to stay afloat; that we need Jesus like<br />

sailors need the stars to find their<br />

course. Faith begins from believing<br />

that we are not enough for ourselves,<br />

from feeling in need of God.”<br />

Reporting courtesy of Catholic <strong>News</strong><br />

Agency.<br />

Papal Prayer Intention for <strong>July</strong>: We pray that, in social,<br />

economic, and political situations of conflict, we may be<br />

courageous and passionate architects of dialogue and<br />

friendship.<br />

2 • ANGELUS • <strong>July</strong> 2, <strong>2021</strong>



United in what is essential<br />

On June 16, Archbishop Gomez, president<br />

of the United States Conference of<br />

Catholic Bishops, delivered his address to<br />

the bishops’ Plenary Assembly, which was<br />

held virtually in Washington, D.C. The<br />

following is adapted from his remarks.<br />

We have been living through<br />

some extraordinary times.<br />

We’ve seen a pandemic<br />

shut down our civilization, including<br />

the Church, for more than a year.<br />

We’ve lived through riots in our major<br />

cities, rising social divisions and unrest,<br />

and maybe the most<br />

polarized election our<br />

country has ever seen.<br />

Even with the lockdowns<br />

ending, our<br />

neighbors are still struggling.<br />

They’ve lost loved<br />

ones and livelihoods.<br />

Many have lost confidence<br />

in God and hope for the future. After<br />

being isolated for months, some have<br />

grown distrustful of our leaders and<br />

institutions.<br />

It is not realistic to expect the Church<br />

to stay immune from the pressures of<br />

division. Those pressures are all around<br />

us.<br />

The Church is divine, she is the body<br />

of Christ. But we are all human in the<br />

Church, after all. And we are living<br />

in a secular society where politics is<br />

becoming the substitute religion for<br />

a lot of people. So, we need to guard<br />

against the temptation to think about<br />

the Church in simply political terms.<br />

In his homily for Pentecost, the Holy<br />

Father said, “Today, if we listen to the<br />

Spirit, we will not be concerned with<br />

conservatives and progressives, traditionalists<br />

and innovators, right and left.<br />

… The Paraclete impels us to unity …<br />

the harmony of diversity. He makes us<br />

see ourselves as parts of the same body,<br />

brothers and sisters of one another.”<br />

Unity in the Church does not mean<br />

conformity of opinion or that bishops<br />

will never disagree. The apostles argued<br />

passionately. They disagreed over pastoral<br />

strategies and methods. But never<br />

about the truth of the Gospel.<br />

In the wake of this pandemic, our<br />

Holy Father is calling us to strengthen<br />

the unity of the body of Christ. What he<br />

said recently to the bishops of Brazil is<br />

also important for us.<br />

“It is possible to overcome the pandemic,”<br />

he said. “It is possible to overcome<br />

Only a Church that is united can heal<br />

the brokenness and challenge the<br />

injustices that we see more clearly<br />

now in the wake of this pandemic.<br />

its consequences. But we can only do so<br />

if we are united. The bishops’ conference<br />

must be as one at this time, because<br />

the suffering people are one.”<br />

Only a Church that is united can<br />

heal the brokenness and challenge the<br />

injustices that we see more clearly now<br />

in the wake of this pandemic.<br />

The Gospel we proclaim is the truth<br />

of salvation. It is also the most powerful<br />

force in history for promoting human<br />

dignity and human flourishing.<br />

The power of our Catholic vision flows<br />

from our profound awareness of the<br />

unity of life, from conception to natural<br />

death, and the unity of the human family,<br />

every person a child of God.<br />

What God wants for the human family<br />

is meant to be reflected in the unity of<br />

the Church, which is the family of God.<br />

One of the saints said, “All with Peter<br />

to Jesus through Mary! By seeing ourselves<br />

as part of the Church and united<br />

to our brothers and sisters in the faith,<br />

we understand more deeply that we<br />

are brothers and sisters of all mankind,<br />

for the Church has been sent to all the<br />

peoples of the earth.”<br />

There are forces at work right now in<br />

our culture that threaten not only the<br />

unity of the human family, but also the<br />

very truth about God’s creation and<br />

human nature.<br />

Our Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has<br />

said, “This is the age of sin against God<br />

the Creator.”<br />

Pope Francis has stressed the truth of<br />

these words and said, “The problem is<br />

worldwide! The exploitation<br />

of creation, and the exploitation<br />

of persons. We are<br />

experiencing a moment of<br />

the annihilation of man as the<br />

image of God.”<br />

We stand at a historic<br />

crossroads, as our Holy Father<br />

is telling us. It falls to the<br />

Church in this moment to defend the<br />

truth about God the Creator, and the<br />

truth about the sanctity of the human<br />

person and the unity of the human<br />

family in God’s plan for creation.<br />

This is our mission, the urgent task of<br />

the whole Church in this moment —<br />

after this pandemic, in the face of the<br />

chaos and confusion in our society.<br />

My prayer is that as bishops we will<br />

all remain united in what is essential<br />

— our love for Jesus and our desire to<br />

proclaim him as the living God and the<br />

true path for humanity.<br />

Later this year, we celebrate the 490th<br />

anniversary of Our Lady of Guadalupe’s<br />

apparition. Let us look to her in this<br />

moment and entrust all our challenges<br />

to her maternal heart.<br />

May she help us to keep our hearts<br />

humble and united in the service<br />

of Jesus, as we seek to continue the<br />

evangelization of our country and our<br />

continent in this moment.<br />

<strong>July</strong> 2, <strong>2021</strong> • ANGELUS • 3

WORLD<br />

Father Juan Antonio Orozco. | CNS/FACEBOOK<br />

■ Mexican priest caught<br />

in cartel crossfire<br />

A young Mexican priest was gunned<br />

down on his way back from ministering<br />

in a rural Mexican village known for<br />

drug cartel conflicts.<br />

Father Juan Antonio Orozco, 33,<br />

“entered the crossfire of two groups<br />

fighting” along a highway in western<br />

Durango, his bishop said. The Franciscan<br />

priest known as “Padre Juanito”<br />

had traveled to celebrate Mass in a<br />

rural village.<br />

At least 29 priests have been killed in<br />

Mexico since 2012, according to the<br />

Catholic Multimedia Center.<br />

“We call on the civil authorities to<br />

finally put a limit to the violence and<br />

harassment of our communities,” read<br />

a Facebook post shared by the village’s<br />

parish. “There are now many victims<br />

among our people and now our priest.<br />

Who’s next?”<br />

■ Pope tells German<br />

cardinal to carry on after<br />

resignation offer<br />

German Cardinal Reinhard Marx<br />

has stated he would “not simply<br />

return to business as usual” following<br />

Pope Francis’ refusal to accept his<br />

resignation.<br />

“The answer of the Holy Father<br />

surprised me,” Cardinal Marx said<br />

June 11. “I had not counted on him<br />

responding so quickly, and I also had<br />

not expected his decision that I should<br />

continue on as archbishop of Munich<br />

and Freising.”<br />

Cardinal Marx announced his offer<br />

of resignation June 4, stating that<br />

bishops must accept responsibility for<br />

institutional failures in handling the<br />

clerical sexual abuse crisis. Pope Francis<br />

responded June 10, confirming the<br />

Church’s need to better respond to<br />

the abuse crisis but asking Cardinal<br />

Marx to continue as archbishop.<br />

Following the pope’s response,<br />

Cardinal Marx reiterated his belief<br />

that bishops must bear both personal<br />

and institutional responsibility for the<br />

sexual abuse crisis, “particularly in<br />

view of the victims, whose perspectives<br />

must more strongly be taken into<br />

account.”<br />

■ Vatican mandates term<br />

limits for leaders of lay<br />

movements<br />

The Vatican announced mandatory<br />

term limits for lay leaders of ecclesial<br />

movements and associations.<br />

Under the new set of rules from the<br />

Dicastery for Laity, the Family and<br />

Life announced June 11, leaders<br />

elected to a central governing body of<br />

a lay movement will have a five-year<br />

term, which can be renewed once<br />

for a total of 10 years. After 10 years,<br />

the leader must step down for at least<br />

one full term before being eligible for<br />

leadership again.<br />

Founding leaders are exempt from<br />

the term limits. Full members of<br />

movements are to “have active voice,<br />

direct or indirect,” in elections, the<br />

Vatican decreed.<br />

The decree, which goes into effect<br />

in September, is widely seen as a<br />

response to revelations of abuse by<br />

charismatic lay leaders in recent years.<br />

The law is meant to target “negative<br />

experiences that have occurred in<br />

the case of associations which have<br />

retained the same people in government<br />

positions for a long time,” wrote<br />

canonist Father Ulrich Rhode, SJ, in<br />

“L’Osservatore Romano.”<br />

A river tradition — Egyptian Christians swim in the Nile River during a mirroring of the Holy Family’s “Flight<br />

into Egypt” in Minya Governorate June 9. | CNS/HANAA HABIB, REUTERS<br />

4 • ANGELUS • <strong>July</strong> 2, <strong>2021</strong>

NATION<br />

Father Joseph Lafleur. | CNS<br />

Leonard LaRue. | CNS<br />

■ From war heros to saints?<br />

During their annual June meeting, the<br />

U.S. bishops gave their approval for two<br />

dioceses to advance the sainthood causes<br />

of two men revered for their heroism<br />

during war.<br />

Father Joseph Verbis Lafleur was a<br />

World War II chaplain who died saving<br />

others when the Japanese prison ship<br />

he was on was torpedoed in the Indian<br />

Ocean in 1944. Father Lafleur was a<br />

priest of the Diocese of Lafayette, Louisiana,<br />

who had joined the Army Air Corps<br />

in 1941.<br />

Leonard LaRue was at the helm of the<br />

Merchant Marine ship Meredith Victory<br />

in 1950 when it rescued 14,005 Korean<br />

refugees who were fleeing a Chinese<br />

military onslaught during the Korean<br />

War, according to Catholic <strong>News</strong><br />

Service. He later joined the Benedictine<br />

Monks of Newton, New Jersey, and took<br />

the name Brother Marinus in 1954.<br />

He spent the rest of his life doing less<br />

celebrated tasks, like dishwashing and<br />

working in the abbey’s gift shop.<br />

In giving their approval via virtual<br />

ballot, the bishops voted to “consider it<br />

opportune to advance (their causes) on<br />

the local level,” not necessarily endorsing<br />

them.<br />

■ Court sides with Church in Philadelphia foster care case<br />

The Supreme Court ruled unanimously that the city of Philadelphia had violated<br />

the first amendment by denying Catholic Social Services (CSS) foster care<br />

referrals due to their policy of not placing children with same-sex couples.<br />

“CSS seeks only an accommodation that will allow it to continue serving the<br />

children of Philadelphia in a manner consistent with its religious beliefs; it does<br />

not seek to impose those beliefs on anyone else,” wrote Chief Justice John Roberts<br />

in the majority opinion announced June 17.<br />

During oral arguments, Justices Samuel Alito and Brett Kavanaugh pointed out<br />

that CSS had never denied a same-sex couple placement because no couple had<br />

ever approached the agency, and that CSS policy would have simply referred an<br />

inquiring same-sex couple to another agency.<br />

University of <strong>No</strong>tre Dame law professor Richard Garnett predicted the ruling<br />

will have “a major effect on religious-freedom cases going forward.”<br />

“All nine justices agree that, when a rule targets religious practices for disapproval,<br />

or singles out religious exercise for burdens, it is highly suspect,” he told<br />

Catholic <strong>News</strong> Service.<br />

■ America’s top doctor thanks Pope Francis<br />

Dr. Francis Collins, director of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, thanked<br />

Pope Francis for his efforts in promoting the COVID-19 vaccines.<br />

“Having a leader in the Catholic Church who has been so outspoken and so<br />

willing to lay out the facts and not be dissuaded by a lot of the myths and even<br />

conspiracies has been really helpful,” Collins said in a June 14 interview with the<br />

National Catholic Reporter.<br />

A member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, Collins cited the Vatican’s<br />

affirmation of the morality of the vaccines, the pope’s calls for wealthy nations to<br />

share their doses with poorer regions, and the conversion of a papal audience hall<br />

into a vaccination clinic as deserving of praise.<br />

Collins’ comments come amid a “National Month of Action” announced by<br />

President Joe Biden, who set a goal of having 70% of U.S. adults receive at least<br />

one vaccine shot by <strong>July</strong> 4.<br />

Between knights — Supreme Knight Patrick E. Kelly, CEO of the Knights of Columbus, stands between retired<br />

Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson and Baltimore Archbishop William E. Lori during Mass at St. Mary Church<br />

in New Haven, Connecticut, on June 11. Kelly was formally installed in the top post at the Mass, which was<br />

celebrated by Archbishop Lori, the Knights’ supreme chaplain. | KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS<br />

<strong>July</strong> 2, <strong>2021</strong> • ANGELUS • 5

LOCAL<br />

■ Catholic school<br />

students get a $50<br />

million gift<br />

An anonymous benefactor has donated<br />

$50 million in tuition aid for new<br />

students at Catholic schools in the<br />

Archdiocese of Los Angeles.<br />

The gift will be allocated over five<br />

years “for new enrollees to our Catholic<br />

schools and for students who left<br />

our schools but now will be able to return,”<br />

said Douglas Cooper, executive<br />

director of the Catholic Education<br />

Foundation.<br />

Archbishop José H. Gomez also expressed<br />

thanks for the large gift, saying<br />

“the kindness and love reflected in<br />

this gift are beyond words.”<br />

“This gift will change the lives of<br />

countless young men and women<br />

for generations to come, opening up<br />

opportunities for the future they could<br />

never have dreamed of,” he said.<br />

Families interested in archdiocesan<br />

Catholic schools are encouraged to<br />

visit LACatholicschools.org or call<br />

2<strong>13</strong>-637-7070 for more information.<br />

■ Churches reopen fully, dispensation lifted<br />

Churches in the<br />

Archdiocese of<br />

Los Angeles were<br />

fully reopened<br />

on June 19, after<br />

Archbishop José<br />

H. Gomez lifted<br />

the dispensation<br />

to attend Mass<br />

on Sundays and<br />

holy days of<br />

obligation. The<br />

dispensation will<br />

still be granted to<br />

those who are ill<br />

or have underlying<br />

health<br />

concerns.<br />

The archdiocese<br />

also issued<br />

new liturgy<br />

Sixty years of gratitude — Msgr. John Barry, longtime pastor of American<br />

Martyrs Church in Manhattan Beach, celebrated his 60 years of priesthood with<br />

elderly friends the weekend of June 18, his ordination anniversary. “Thank you for<br />

celebrating the greatest gift that God could give any human being to be, from my<br />

point of view, to be a priest,” Msgr. Barry, who survived a COVID-19 hospitalization<br />

in the spring of 2020, told parishioners at 8 a.m. Mass that day. The 83-year-old was<br />

ordained at All Hallows College in his native Ireland in 1961. | BOB VISTY/AMERI-<br />


Massgoers at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels on June 19, the first Sunday<br />

that churches could open full capacity. | VICTOR ALEMÁN<br />

guidelines. Masses and other liturgical celebrations and activities can now be<br />

held indoors, with no capacity limitations, reservations, or social distancing<br />

requirements. Fully vaccinated faithful do not have to wear masks, although<br />

parishes will not be asking who is and is not vaccinated.<br />

For a full list of guidelines, and more information, visit lacatholics.com/emergency.<br />

■ Ex-St. James principal pleads<br />

guilty to stealing school money<br />

Federal prosecutors filed charges June 8 against a now-retired<br />

woman religious who had served as principal of St.<br />

James School in Torrance.<br />

Sister Mary Margaret Kreuper, 79, agreed to plead guilty<br />

to fraud and money laundering for stealing more than<br />

$835,000 in funds from the school.<br />

For a period of 10 years ending in September 2018, she<br />

is believed to have embezzled just over $835,000 from the<br />

school to pay for personal expenses, including gambling<br />

trips.<br />

Sister Kreuper, a Sister of St. Joseph of Carondelet, is to<br />

appear in U.S. District Court for arraignment <strong>July</strong> 1. The<br />

two charges to which she pleaded guilty carry a maximum<br />

statutory penalty of 40 years in federal prison.<br />

In her plea agreement, she admitted to falsifying monthly<br />

and annual reports submitted to the school administration<br />

to cover up her fraudulent conduct and “lulled St. James<br />

School and the administration into believing that the<br />

school’s finances were being properly accounted for and its<br />

financial assets properly safeguarded,” the U.S. Attorney’s<br />

Office said.<br />

Y<br />

6 • ANGELUS • <strong>July</strong> 2, <strong>2021</strong>


V<br />

Congratulations, American bishops<br />

After reading Russell Shaw’s article, “Striving for coherence,” I felt<br />

compelled to congratulate those U.S. bishops who are not afraid to speak<br />

the truth, and have issued statements strongly arguing that politicians who support<br />

abortion should not receive Communion.<br />

For those bishops who believe that anything the bishops say may be viewed as political,<br />

I say this is why U.S. bishops have lost their moral authority. We Catholics<br />

look to our bishops to speak and take a stand for the truth, defending our Faith,<br />

regardless of which political party they may offend, reminding us as Catholics to<br />

live and act in a manner that is consistent with the precepts of our Faith, guiding<br />

us from not only advocating grave moral sins like abortion, but respecting life<br />

from conception through natural death.<br />

— Gayle Danko, St. Mary Magdalen Church, Camarillo<br />

President Biden’s common ground with the bishops<br />

President Biden and his administration are sending COVID-19 vaccines to many<br />

of the poorest countries in the world. Without a doubt, many lives will be saved as<br />

a result. President Biden is to be commended for this pro-life action.<br />

In addition, his initiatives on comprehensive immigration reform are in line with<br />

the U.S. bishops’ recommendations — path to citizenship, reunification of families,<br />

just treatment of the undocumented, border security, and aid to struggling<br />

countries. These are also pro-life issues.<br />

— Charlie Ara, Palm Desert<br />

Thanks for a lesser-known theologian<br />

Thanks to Heather King for making better known the important work of theologian<br />

John F. Haught in “Evolution and faith, working hand in hand.” When<br />

evolutionary evidence contradicts doctrines based on a literal interpretation of the<br />

Book of Genesis, it is imperative that we come to a more refined explanation of<br />

Church teaching.<br />

If we fail to do so, we will certainly see more people with a basic understanding<br />

of science who find the Church irrelevant because we are either unable or<br />

unwilling to reconcile the good news and the eternal truth we possess with the<br />

discoveries of science.<br />

— Chris Streip, Playa Del Rey<br />

Y<br />

Letters to the Editor<br />

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may be edited for style, brevity, and clarity.<br />

‘Consecrated to the ministry of charity’<br />

Archbishop José H. Gomez celebrates<br />

Mass with the new permanent deacons<br />

ordained for the Archdiocese of<br />

Los Angeles. | VICTOR ALEMÁN<br />

View more photos<br />

from this gallery at<br />

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send to editorial @angelusnews.com.<br />

“Catholic families are<br />

struggling to live out their<br />

faith and raise their children<br />

amid a culture that is<br />

increasingly hostile to our<br />

beliefs.”<br />

~ Patrick Kelly, new Supreme Knight of the Knights<br />

of Columbus, at his installation ceremony June 11.<br />

“Without [the Eucharist],<br />

we starve to death<br />

spiritually.”<br />

~ Bishop Robert Barron, urging Catholics to come<br />

back to Mass as churches reopen fully after the<br />

pandemic.<br />

“You learn to live with just<br />

what is necessary, which<br />

means exactly what you can<br />

carry in a backpack.”<br />

~ Manu Mariño, a Spanish researcher studying<br />

the benefits of walking the Camino de Santiago<br />

pilgrimage route in Spain, in an interview with the<br />

Associated Press.<br />

“Respect for religious<br />

freedom should not be a<br />

partisan or left-right issue.”<br />

~ Richard Garnett, law school professor at the<br />

University of <strong>No</strong>tre Dame and director of the<br />

university’s Program on Church, State and Society,<br />

on the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of<br />

Philadelphia’s Catholic Social Services.<br />

“He salvaged souls through<br />

the valley of the shadow.”<br />

~ Bishop J. Douglas Deshotel of Lafayette, Louisiana,<br />

on the life of Father Joseph Verbis Lafleur, a World<br />

War II chaplain who died saving others on a Japanese<br />

prison ship during World War II.<br />

<strong>July</strong> 2, <strong>2021</strong> • ANGELUS • 7

IN EXILE<br />


Oblate of Mary Immaculate Father<br />

Ronald Rolheiser is a spiritual<br />

writer; ronaldrolheiser.com.<br />

A Eucharistic Prayer<br />

As a seminarian, I was privileged<br />

one summer to take a course<br />

from the renowned liturgist,<br />

Father Godfrey Diekmann, OSB. This<br />

was back in those heady days shortly<br />

after Vatican II when it was very much<br />

in fashion to frown on prescribed ritual<br />

prayers and write your own. This was<br />

particularly true for the Eucharistic<br />

Prayer, the “Canon” of the Mass,<br />

which a number of priests began writing<br />

for themselves.<br />

Father Diekmann, it turned out, was<br />

not a great fan of this. Asked about it in<br />

class one day, he said, “It seems today<br />

that everyone who has a tiny bit of imagination<br />

and even less theology feels<br />

obliged to write a Eucharistic Prayer.”<br />

Because of the COVID-19 restrictions<br />

this year, I have often celebrated<br />

some form of the Eucharist virtually.<br />

At first, leading those services, my<br />

thought was, what’s the value of a<br />

Eucharistic Prayer if there is to be no<br />

Communion?<br />

Therefore, I simply jumped from<br />

the Liturgy of the Word straight to the<br />

Lord’s Prayer. Eventually though, I<br />

deemed that something more might be<br />

offered. Thus (with Father Diekmann’s<br />

words now 40 years distant) I wrote a<br />

Eucharistic Prayer for a virtual Mass.<br />

What is a Eucharistic Prayer? Most<br />

people would say it’s that part of the<br />

Eucharist where the priest consecrates<br />

the bread and wine, but that’s only part<br />

of it.<br />

The Eucharistic Prayer is that part of<br />

the Eucharist where we make “memorial”<br />

(“Zikkaron” in Hebrew) of the<br />

major event by which Christ saved us,<br />

in order to make that event present for<br />

us to participate in today.<br />

We come to the Eucharist not just to<br />

receive the body and blood of Christ,<br />

but (just as importantly) to participate<br />

in an event, namely, the saving<br />

action of Christ as he undergoes his<br />

passion, death, resurrection, ascension,<br />

and pentecost. The Eucharist is the<br />

Christian Passover supper and, like the<br />

Jewish Passover supper, its purpose is<br />

to make a past event present to us.<br />

How does this work? We don’t<br />

have a metaphysics within which to<br />

understand this. In sacred ritual, in<br />

the Eucharist, as in a Passover supper,<br />

something happens that transcends<br />

time. This doesn’t contradict the intellect,<br />

the imagination, or the laws of<br />

nature; it only takes them beyond their<br />

normal limits.<br />

Here’s a Eucharistic Prayer for those<br />

times when there is no bread and wine<br />

to be consecrated:<br />

“Lord, God, you break into our lives<br />

in extraordinary ways to manifest your<br />

love and save us.<br />

“For your chosen people you miraculously<br />

parted the waters of the Red Sea<br />

and led them to safety by suspending<br />

the laws of nature. Then, in the desert,<br />

you miraculously fed them with manna<br />

and revealed to them the law within<br />

your heart.<br />

“Since only one generation walked<br />

through the parted waters of the Red<br />

Sea and only that generation ate your<br />

manna in the desert, you, Lord God,<br />

instituted the Passover supper as a<br />

ritual through which every generation<br />

until the endtime could walk<br />

through the parted waters of the Red<br />

Sea and eat your bread in the desert.<br />

The Passover supper calls these saving<br />

events to mind in a way that, in your<br />

timelessness, makes them real again<br />

for us today.<br />

“This is true, too, for the saving<br />

actions of your Son, Jesus Christ. His<br />

passion was a new bondage; his trust in<br />

death a new faith; your raising of him<br />

in the resurrection and his ascension<br />

a new Exodus; and his sending of the<br />

Spirit at Pentecost a new entry into the<br />

Promised Land.<br />

“Therefore, Lord God, on the night<br />

before he died, your son left us the<br />

Eucharist as a Passover supper through<br />

which you make these saving events<br />

present again.<br />

“We ask you, therefore, to send your<br />

Spirit upon all of us gathered here to<br />

make memorial of your Son’s saving<br />

acts. Grant that through this ritual<br />

remembrance each of us, and all of us<br />

as one community, may be united with<br />

Christ in his passion, death, resurrection,<br />

ascension, and in his sending of<br />

the Spirit. You who are beyond time,<br />

grant us today the grace of being one<br />

with Christ in his sacrifice, one with<br />

him in his dying and rising.<br />

“As we celebrate this memorial, help<br />

us know that we are one with your<br />

Son, Our Lord, Jesus, united with him<br />

as he is undergoing his passion, death,<br />

resurrection, ascension, and pentecost.<br />

“Lord, God, help us to know that<br />

the food of this Eucharist is the new<br />

manna by which you feed your people<br />

with heavenly food.<br />

“Lord, as we make this memorial,<br />

above all we ask you to help us break<br />

down everything that separates us from<br />

one another, all division in our world,<br />

so that you may be able to feed us all<br />

at one table, as one family, as one God<br />

of us all.<br />

“We pray all of this through, with,<br />

and in your Son, Christ, Our Lord.<br />

Amen.”<br />

In the Eucharist, we don’t just eat the<br />

bread of life, we also die and rise with<br />

Christ.<br />

8 • ANGELUS • <strong>July</strong> 2, <strong>2021</strong>

<strong>2021</strong> CATHOLIC MEDIA AWARDS<br />

<strong>Angelus</strong> and its sister publications won a total of 29 CMA awards for works published in 2020.<br />



Best Illustration with Graphic<br />

Design or Art: “The Next Four Years:<br />

A Catholic Vision for America,” by<br />

Jacob Popcak<br />

Best Regular Column — Arts, Leisure,<br />

Culture and Food: “The Crux,”<br />

by Heather King<br />

Best Essay — Diocesan Magazines:<br />

“The victims of our progress,” by Elise<br />

Italiano Ureneck<br />

Personality Profiles — Laity: “Kobe<br />

the Catholic,” by Tom Hoffarth and<br />

Steve Lowery<br />

Best Sports Reporting: “Kobe the<br />

Catholic,” by Tom Hoffarth and Steve<br />

Lowery, “Embodying Kobe,” by Tom<br />

Hoffarth, “SoCal bishops reflect on<br />

Kobe Bryant’s Catholic faith during<br />

Rome visit,” by Pablo Kay<br />

Best Review: “Flannery O’Connor’s<br />

moral drama,” by Nick Ripatrazone<br />


Best Coverage — Racial Inequities:<br />

“Conversations and conversion,” by<br />

Sophia Martinson, “The ultimate<br />

scapegoat,” by Heather King, “George<br />

Floyd and us,” by Archbishop José H.<br />

Gomez, “My K Street epiphany,” by<br />

Andrew Rivas, “ ‘It should not be this<br />

way,’ ” by Pablo Kay<br />

Best Feature Article — Diocesan<br />

Magazines: “Evangelizing past the<br />

likes,” by Ann Rodgers<br />

Best Reporting on Catholic Education:<br />

“Marymount senior’s free tutoring<br />

program helps students during pandemic,”<br />

by Christa Chavez<br />

Best Photograph — Holy Days/Liturgical<br />

Seasons: “Signs of new hope:<br />

Why we need this year’s very different<br />

Advent,” by David Amador Rivera<br />

Best Photograph — Immigration/<br />

Migration: “Hope comes home: Inside<br />

the local Catholic effort to reunite a<br />

family,” by John McCoy<br />


Best Electronic <strong>News</strong>letter: “Always<br />

Forward,” by <strong>Angelus</strong> Staff<br />

Best Coverage — 2020 Election:<br />

“Our mission is bigger than politics,” by<br />

Archbishop José H. Gomez, “Beyond<br />

the ballot box,” by Montse Alvarado,<br />

Dylan Corbett, Helen Alvaré, Deacon<br />

Harold Burke-Sivers, Louis Brown,<br />

Michael Vacca, Rosanne Haggerty, and<br />

Patrick T. Brown, “<strong>No</strong> lasting city,” by<br />

Archbishop José H. Gomez, “Resist or<br />

reach out?” by Elise Italiano Ureneck,<br />

“The homeless Catholic voter,” by Greg<br />

Erlandson<br />

Best Essay — Diocesan Magazines:<br />

“An American president’s ‘quiet rebellion,’<br />

” by John J. Miller<br />


Editor of the Year (English): Pablo Kay<br />

Best Coverage — Pandemic: “Conversion<br />

in a time of coronavirus,” by Elizabeth<br />

Lev, Thomas D. Williams, and<br />

Mike Aquilina, “<strong>No</strong>-touch tenderness,”<br />

by R.W. Dellinger, “Sacrificing for<br />

smiles,” by Hayley Smith, “Providence<br />

in a pandemic,” by Caitlin Yoshiko<br />

Kandil, “Rescuing 2020,” by Pablo<br />

Kay, Msgr. James Gehl, Alison Nastasi,<br />

Patty Breen, Cardinal George Pell, T.J.<br />

Berden, Father Patrick Mary Briscoe,<br />

OP, Elise Italiano Ureneck, and Greg<br />

Erlandson<br />

Best Essay — Diocesan Magazines:<br />

“Changes within reach,” by Elise Italiano<br />

Ureneck<br />

Best Feature Article — Diocesan<br />

Magazines: “Picking up the mantle,”<br />

by Ann Rodgers<br />

Best Reporting of the Celebration<br />

of a Sacrament: “In sickness and in<br />

health,” by Sophia Martinson, “An air<br />

of hope,” by Christa Chavez, “Pulverizing<br />

sins,” by Father Bernard Mulcahy,<br />

OP, PH.D.<br />

Best Special Issue: “Be not afraid!<br />

John Paul II at 100,” by <strong>Angelus</strong> Staff<br />

Diocesan Directory: “2020-<strong>2021</strong><br />

Catholic Directory of the Archdiocese of<br />

Los Angeles,” by <strong>Angelus</strong> Staff<br />



Best Personality Profile: “Lecciones<br />

que aprendí de mi padre César<br />

Chávez,” by Paul F. Chávez<br />

Best Reporting on Social Justice<br />

Issues — Option for the Poor and<br />

Vulnerable: “Qué patrocinar a un<br />

niño apresado,” by Alicia Morandi<br />


Best Reporting on Social Justice<br />

Issues — Call to Family, Community<br />

and Participation: “Familias en duelo<br />

que perdonan,” by R.W. Dellinger<br />

Best Multiple Picture Package —<br />

Feature: “Más de 30 mil participan en<br />

caminata pro-vida en Los Ángeles,” by<br />

Victor Alemán<br />

Best Photo Story — Feature: “Acontecimientos<br />

del Congreso de 2020,” by<br />

Victor Alemán<br />


Best Reporting on Social Justice<br />

Issues — Life and Dignity of the<br />

Human Person: “Una familia con una<br />

historia que contar,” by Pilar Marrero<br />

Best Photograph — Color: “Situaciones,”<br />

by Victor Alemán<br />


Spanish Publication of the Year:<br />

Vida Nueva<br />

<strong>July</strong> 2, <strong>2021</strong> • ANGELUS • 9

<strong>2021</strong><br />




After her conversion to Catholicism,<br />

Zena Hitz discovered pleasure in<br />

learning and study for its own sake.<br />

<strong>No</strong>w, she wants you to.<br />


It was 2020, and the world suddenly<br />

lost its bustle. Isolated from the<br />

workplace and other social contact,<br />

we were left with ourselves, and none<br />

of our distractions seemed adequate to<br />

the task of amusing us. We were ready<br />

to learn how to think.<br />

And then came Zena Hitz’s “Lost<br />

in Thought: The Hidden Pleasures<br />

of an Intellectual Life” (Princeton<br />

University Press, $16.95). Reviews in<br />

major media were effusive in their<br />

praise. The Wall Street Journal called<br />

it “disarmingly simple and deeply<br />

engaging.” NPR praised it as “a very<br />

thought-provoking book.” To scholar<br />

Stanley Fish it was “thrilling.” Rapper<br />


MC Hammer called it “an amazing<br />

book.”<br />

“Lost in Thought” is part memoir<br />

and part self-help book. Hitz tells<br />

the story of how she achieved early<br />

success in academia, only to find the<br />

joy drained from her work. She had<br />

entered the field of classics because<br />

she loved literature, but then learned<br />

that literature was often less important<br />

to academic life than cliques, competition,<br />

and gossip.<br />

So she dropped out. She left a<br />

high-prestige position and spent<br />

several years revaluing the elements<br />

of her life: work, friendships, reading,<br />

and thinking. She also converted to<br />

Catholicism.<br />

She spoke with <strong>Angelus</strong> about her<br />

discoveries, and why the life of the<br />

mind is for everyone, not just the<br />

elites.<br />

There’s a rich tradition of books<br />

that lead us in the cultivation of an<br />

intellectual life, from Boethius to<br />

A.G. Sertillanges. Why do we need<br />

to be reminded so often?<br />

The simple answer is that intellectual<br />

life is always an effort! It’s an<br />

achievement to live out our nature<br />

in this way. We can survive at a bare<br />

animal level without thinking or<br />

studying. Worse, our inner autopilot<br />

goes for impressing others or securing<br />

comforts over the activities that matter<br />

just for us and our own growth, like<br />

study, prayer, and simple acts of love.<br />

10 • ANGELUS • <strong>July</strong> 2, <strong>2021</strong>

That said, I don’t think there are<br />

enough books about intellectual life!<br />

Sertillanges is a hundred years old.<br />

Think of how many books we have to<br />

help us to pray. Prayer is more important<br />

than thinking, but there should<br />

still be almost as many books to help<br />

believers and nonbelievers to think.<br />

Are the same impediments and distractions<br />

common to all the ages? Is<br />

there anything peculiar to our time?<br />

Human beings of all times and<br />

places face the same challenges on<br />

a basic level: our need to please and<br />

impress others, our desire for comfort<br />

rather than greatness, our aversion to<br />

suffering. But our age is special in that<br />

we have large corporations that have<br />

developed sophisticated ways to make<br />

money off of our worst impulses.<br />

Technology reaches into even the<br />

most intimate corners of our lives. We<br />

need to remember that as we face our<br />

technological distractions, someone is<br />

making money off us. We can’t trust<br />

the masters of technology to act only<br />

with our good in mind.<br />

In your book, you describe an intellectual<br />

or vocational conversion —<br />

and your religious conversion. Is it<br />

possible to make a hard distinction<br />

between the two? Or was it the same<br />

work in two movements?<br />

I found my way from a more conventional<br />

and high-prestige intellectual<br />

life to a more authentic one, in the<br />

years following my conversion from a<br />

secular nonbeliever into a Catholic.<br />

I think the movements are probably<br />

distinct in principle, in that some people<br />

do resolve difficulties about the<br />

meaning of work without the benefits<br />

of faith.<br />

But for me, the recovery of my intellectual<br />

vocation was a development of<br />

my original conversion, the fruit of my<br />

rebirth in faith. It came to me from<br />

following the teachings of the Church<br />

about prayer, discernment, and sacrifice,<br />

and I definitely experienced it as<br />

grace.<br />

Your book is rich and yet the language<br />

is simple. There’s no specialized<br />

vocabulary to be mastered. It’s<br />

a work of philosophy in the manner<br />

of Augustine or Pascal. How did you<br />

come to write it this way?<br />

I’m very flattered to be compared<br />

with Augustine or Pascal! I wanted<br />

to reach as many people as possible.<br />

I was convinced that the message of<br />

the book would matter to all sorts of<br />

people, not just academics or Catholic<br />

academics. So I made an effort to<br />

avoid any jargon.<br />

It’s also true that the book is the fruit<br />

of my philosophical, intellectual, and<br />

spiritual maturity. I lived for a few<br />

years in the Madonna House community,<br />

and that time had the effect<br />

of bringing focus and clarity to my<br />

thinking, and it helped to detach me<br />

from the narrower academic audiences<br />

I used to write for.<br />

You draw examples of intellectual<br />

life from surprising places, not just<br />

professors, authors, and professional<br />

thinkers, but laborers and prisoners.<br />

You take pains to do this and even<br />

draw attention to it. Why is that?<br />

I’m persuaded that intellectual<br />

life is for everyone, not just for the<br />

professionals. Success distorts our<br />

perception of what intellectual life is.<br />

It isn’t leading a fancy lifestyle with<br />

wine-and-cheese parties, and it isn’t<br />

the power and prestige of publishing<br />

books or having one’s name in print.<br />

Because those things belong to the<br />

professional forms of intellectual life,<br />

professionals just don’t display the<br />

meaning of the intellectual life as<br />

well.<br />

<strong>No</strong>t that none of us professionals are<br />

authentic, but it is harder to see that<br />

we are. Whereas a political prisoner<br />

under a totalitarian regime might pursue<br />

the intellectual life for no reason<br />

other than his or her own dignity, to<br />

develop his or her humanity. They<br />

get no status, no encouragement; no<br />

one may even know what they are<br />

doing. Likewise, there are all kinds<br />

of ordinary people whose intellectual<br />

pursuits are only known to their<br />

friends or family. We can all aspire to<br />

an intellectual life of this kind.<br />

The men and women who fight for<br />

the time and the space to think and<br />

to read, whether they be working<br />

people, or caregivers, or religious, are<br />

my heroes. They know why thinking<br />

matters, and professionals like me are<br />

always in danger of losing touch and<br />

getting distracted.<br />

<strong>July</strong> 2, <strong>2021</strong> • ANGELUS • 11

How does the intellectual life of<br />

Catholics today compare with different<br />

moments in the past? Was there<br />

a golden age for it?<br />

I think there was a kind of golden<br />

age that coexisted with a golden age<br />

for secular intellectual life, in the<br />

middle of the 20th century. People<br />

of all walks of life were learning and<br />

studying and struggling with great<br />

books or fundamental questions.<br />

Learning and study for its own sake<br />

was mainstream, a part of our broader<br />

culture.<br />

Writers like Jacques Maritain or Yves<br />

Simon are the product of that time.<br />

We’ve lost that, and with it much or<br />

most of the institutional support for<br />

that kind of study for most people.<br />

However, I have to say that I’m very<br />

optimistic. There are many inspiring<br />

young Catholic writers right now, and<br />

I think we will see wonderful developments<br />

in the coming decades.<br />

What would be distinctive or<br />

different about the intellectual life<br />

of a Catholic? Are there any helps or<br />

advantages built into Catholic faith<br />

and tradition?<br />

For me the core of the Catholic faith<br />

in this regard is the idea that grace<br />

builds on nature. There is a natural<br />

desire to know and to understand that<br />

we share with all other human beings.<br />

It is deeply related to our inbuilt destiny<br />

to know and to love. That means<br />

that we can find God through all sorts<br />

of inquiry: watching birds, looking at<br />

plants, mathematics, as well as philosophy<br />

or literature.<br />

It also means that our intellectual<br />

life can be a bond with other human<br />

beings, nonbelievers or believers in<br />

other faith traditions. We ought to<br />

seek out these bonds with our fellow<br />

human beings. That said, there are<br />

inbuilt problems with intellectual life<br />

for human beings: It degenerates into<br />

the pursuit of status and power.<br />

There Catholics have the advantage<br />

of knowing the paths of grace through<br />

prayer and the<br />

Denise Foster reads from<br />

the Little Rock Scripture<br />

series as Alicia Sandoval<br />

and Tom Garcia follow<br />

along during a Bible study<br />

at Holy Spirit Church in<br />

Fremont on Sept. 8, 2008.<br />



sacraments.<br />

Only grace can<br />

free us from<br />

the bondage<br />

to our worst<br />

impulses and<br />

bring us into the<br />

freedom and<br />

happiness of<br />

becoming our<br />

best selves.<br />

Mike Aquilina is a contributing<br />

editor to <strong>Angelus</strong> and author of many<br />

books, most recently “Friendship and<br />

the Fathers: How the Early Church<br />

Evangelized” (Emmaus Road Publishing,<br />

$22.95).<br />

12 • ANGELUS • <strong>July</strong> 2, <strong>2021</strong>

<strong>2021</strong><br />



The pandemic has given <strong>Angelus</strong> contributors extra<br />

reading time. Here are their picks from the last year.<br />


Reading has been on the rise since the COVID-19 outbreak, with studies showing that sustained<br />

reading surged in America during the most intense periods of the lockdown. With<br />

more time on their hands, some adults dove into books they had been hoping to get to,<br />

while others revisited favorite titles. Families read aloud together, finding joy in a former pastime.<br />

Ahead of the start of summer, <strong>Angelus</strong> contributors explored what historians, novelists, poets,<br />

and memoirists were writing and publishing in the past year, which they recommend below.<br />

Our contributors chose books that speak to the perennial themes about what it means to be a<br />

human being: why we’re here, where we’re going, and why it matters. Some of these authors reach<br />

back into history, examining how forefathers and ancient thinkers answered those questions.<br />

Others tackled the experience of loneliness and lockdown as it unfolded. And still others look<br />

more directly at Jesus Christ, who alone “is capable of giving the full and definitive answer,” as<br />

St. Pope John Paul II wrote.<br />

We hope these titles help you keep up the habit of reading or begin anew.<br />


Jane Greer’s “Love<br />

Like a Conflagration”<br />

(Lambing, $15.95)<br />

This book may be<br />

the best collection of<br />

poems I’ve ever read.<br />

Each of its 60 poems is<br />

meticulously crafted,<br />

cast in traditional form.<br />

Their subjects range<br />

from the might of<br />

the Archangel Michael<br />

to the glorious<br />

burn of bourbon as<br />

it goes down. Greer’s<br />

hallmarks are clarity<br />

and depth. She traces<br />

human actions to their<br />

metaphysical roots.<br />

She sketches the ulti-<br />

mate consequences of<br />

our casual choices.<br />

The book’s back cover<br />

bears deserved praise<br />

from poets, critics, and<br />

theologians. If you love<br />

poetry, this book will<br />

be the best book you<br />

read this year. If you<br />

don’t, this book will<br />

show you what you’ve<br />

been missing.<br />

LeighAnna Schesser’s<br />

“Struck Dumb with<br />

Singing” (Lambing,<br />

$15.95)<br />

This is Schesser’s first<br />

book-length collection<br />

of poems, and it’s<br />

14 • ANGELUS • <strong>July</strong> 2, <strong>2021</strong>

extraordinary. Her lines display a deep knowledge of nature<br />

and enchanting musical quality: “What is a bell but the burden<br />

of echo? / Announce! And tell, and tell, and tell. // The<br />

keeper, the farmer, or child who knows / carries the news to<br />

the bees: toil and knell. …”<br />

With Catholic sensibilities she explores mercy, prophecy,<br />

incarnation, revelation. Especially strong are Schesser’s<br />

poems about marriage and motherhood.<br />

A.J. Benjamin’s<br />

“When The Son Frees<br />

You” (TAN, $27.95)<br />

Amid the rage of public<br />

discussions about<br />

same-sex attraction and<br />

conversion therapy,<br />

the media often focus<br />

on horror stories and<br />

tragedy. In this memoir<br />

is the story of what<br />

happens when a troubled<br />

adolescent gets<br />

sound spiritual advice<br />

and follows through<br />

on it. The subtitle<br />

summarizes the plot:<br />

“A Catholic Man’s<br />

Journey Of Healing<br />

From Same-Sex Attraction.”<br />

Benjamin charts the course of his healing through high<br />

school and college and into his decades of professional and<br />

(happy) family life. He is married and the father of three.<br />

Benjamin doesn’t flinch from the difficulties; nor does he<br />

bow to secular pieties. He speaks a powerful, countercultural<br />

message most needed today.<br />

Angela Alaimo<br />

O’Donnell’s “Love in<br />

the Time of Coronavirus”<br />

(Paraclete, $19)<br />

If you’ve wondered<br />

what good can come<br />

from the pandemic,<br />

read this book. She has<br />

taken the rough, raw<br />

material of our difficult<br />

year and fashioned it<br />

into poems.<br />

A New Yorker,<br />

O’Donnell experienced<br />

the plague in<br />

one of its epicenters,<br />

and early on she<br />

contracted it herself.<br />

Her lines capture the<br />

moment in memorable<br />

images: the loneliness in empty streets, churches, and<br />

classrooms — and in meals taken alone; the horror in bodies<br />

piled for mass burial on Hart Island.<br />

O’Donnell is a master of the sonnet form in its many<br />

varieties, but her voice is persistently informal, colloquial,<br />

and street-wise. For its loving detail, this book is a perfect<br />

remembrance of the year that was 2020.<br />


George Sauders’ “A<br />

Swim in a Pond in the<br />

Rain: In which Four<br />

Russians Give a Master<br />

Class on Writing,<br />

Reading, and Life”<br />

(Random House,<br />

$14.99)<br />

This book is an<br />

anthology of Russian<br />

short stories selected<br />

with interpretive essays<br />

by National Book<br />

Award winner George<br />

Sauders.<br />

“We’re going,”<br />

Sauders tells us, “to<br />

enter seven fastidiously<br />

constructed scale<br />

models of the world,<br />

made for a specific purpose that our time maybe doesn’t<br />

fully endorse, but that writers accept implicitly as the aim of<br />

art — namely, to ask the big questions, questions like: “How<br />

are we supposed to be living down here? What were we put<br />

here to accomplish? What should we value? What is truth,<br />

anyway, and how might we recognize it?”<br />

Rest assured Tolstoy, Turgenev, Gogol, Chekhov, and Saunders<br />

do not disappoint. More than a master class on the short<br />

story, this is a master class on reading, feeling, understanding,<br />

empathizing, and drawing wisdom from experience.<br />


Luke Bergis’ “Wanting:<br />

The Power of<br />

Mimetic Desire<br />

in Everyday Life”<br />

(St. Martin’s Press,<br />

$20.99)<br />

At Stanford University,<br />

the late great<br />

Catholic professor<br />

René Girard came to<br />

the insight that whatever<br />

we want is characteristically<br />

shaped<br />

by whatever we think<br />

other people want.<br />

Translating the<br />

insights of Girard into<br />

everyday language,<br />

Bergis’ book helps us<br />

take control of our<br />

<strong>July</strong> 2, <strong>2021</strong> • ANGELUS • 15

lives by helping us<br />

to more consciously<br />

shape our desires.<br />

Matthew Dicks’<br />

“Storyworthy:<br />

Engage, Teach, Persuade,<br />

and Change<br />

Your Life through<br />

the Power of Storytelling”<br />

(New World<br />

Library, $15.63)<br />

Dicks reveals the secrets<br />

to his success in<br />

storytelling competitions,<br />

teaches us how<br />

to find the great stories<br />

in our everyday<br />

lives, and regales us<br />

with amazing (and<br />

true) stories from his<br />

own life.<br />

Gregg A. Ten<br />

Elshof’s “For<br />

Shame: Rediscovering<br />

the Virtues of a<br />

Maligned Emotion”<br />

(HarperCollins<br />

Christian Publishing,<br />

$18.99)<br />

In a culture that<br />

is suspicious of<br />

shame but accepting<br />

of shaming, Ten<br />

Elshof’s book makes<br />

a powerful case that<br />

we’ve gotten things<br />

exactly backward.<br />

This work places<br />

shame (and shamelessness)<br />

in the<br />

context of rival views<br />

of human flourishing<br />

and the history of philosophy, East and West.<br />

This book also takes empirical research in psychology seriously<br />

but not uncritically. His reinterpretation of the story of<br />

the prodigal son as a rescuing from shame is deeply illuminative.<br />

Clearly written, free of technical jargon, and biblically<br />

informed, Ten Elshof’s absolutely terrific exploration of<br />

shame deserves wide readership.<br />


A. Ciucci, M. Fossati, G. Perego, and P. Sartor: “The Four<br />

Gospels for Young Catholics” (Pauline Books and Media,<br />

$29.95)<br />

This collection of the Gospels, recommended for ages 9-11,<br />

is an indispensable tool for raising a generation that knows<br />

how to encounter<br />

Christ. Rather than<br />

paraphrasing the<br />

Gospels — or leaving<br />

out the more<br />

difficult or complicated<br />

passages<br />

— this book offers<br />

the complete NRSV<br />

Catholic Edition<br />

text accompanied<br />

by whimsical illustrations<br />

reminiscent<br />

of Roald Dahl and<br />

age-appropriate<br />

commentary.<br />

The result is a prayerful children’s Bible that neither<br />

trivializes the faith nor makes it too daunting for young<br />

Catholics to approach. “The Four Gospels for Young<br />

Catholics” has been my go-to gift for first communicants<br />

and is invaluable for catechists of younger children.<br />


Marcellino D’Ambrosio’s<br />

“Jesus: The<br />

Way, the Truth, and<br />

the Life” (Ascension<br />

Press, $15.99)<br />

I’ve listened with<br />

rapt attention to stories<br />

told by friends<br />

about their Holy<br />

Land pilgrimages.<br />

My inner-history<br />

nerd is fascinated<br />

by the events and<br />

culture surrounding<br />

Jesus’ life and<br />

ministry. So I picked<br />

up D’Ambrosio’s<br />

“Jesus: The Way,<br />

the Truth, and the Life,” hoping to bring the Gospels into<br />

sharper focus.<br />

The New York Times best-selling author and theologian,<br />

known on Catholic TV and radio as “Dr. Italy,” offers<br />

historical and social context about the earthly timeline<br />

and divinity of Jesus. D’Ambrosio sets the scene with warm<br />

familiarity through Scripture passages, geographical details,<br />

and rich historical notes that answer the “Why?” as you<br />

journey through Jesus’ time.<br />

The book is a great companion for a Bible study or an entry<br />

point for further exploration; gift it to (receptive) secular<br />

friends, bookish teens, or new converts.<br />

A beautifully produced 10-week video study program that<br />

accompanies the book, featuring D’Ambrosio with authors<br />

Jeff Cavins and Edward Sri, brings readers even closer<br />

to the places where Jesus walked and brought new life to<br />

those who followed him.<br />

16 • ANGELUS • <strong>July</strong> 2, <strong>2021</strong>


Stephen Schmalhofer’s<br />

“Delightful<br />

People” (Cluny,<br />

$17.95)<br />

This little book<br />

introduces the<br />

reader to a series of<br />

faces whose lives and<br />

works intertwined<br />

to produce some<br />

of America’s finest<br />

works of literary<br />

and visual art. From<br />

Willa Cather to<br />

Henry James to John<br />

LaFarge, readers will<br />

learn of the friendships,<br />

challenges,<br />

and faith experiences<br />

that inspired these<br />

professionals.<br />

Who would have<br />

imagined that a group of literary friends would have found<br />

inspiration and solace in Marian art in Rome? And who<br />

knew that a boy raised by Father Michael McGivney,<br />

founder of the Knights of Columbus, would become a priest<br />

and impact the family of an influential Italian businessman?<br />

The perfect book to read on a summer evening, “Delightful<br />

People” blends history, culture, and faith seamlessly and will<br />

stir both thought and conversation.<br />


Inez Angeli Murzaku’s<br />

“Mother<br />

Teresa: Saint of the<br />

Peripheries” (Paulist<br />

Press, $29.95)<br />

Mother Teresa can<br />

be used and abused,<br />

misunderstood and<br />

miscommunicated,<br />

as has happened<br />

recently in The New<br />

York Times, among<br />

other places.<br />

Murzaku, a professor<br />

of Church history<br />

and director of the<br />

Catholic Studies<br />

Program at Seton<br />

Hall University, sets<br />

the record straight,<br />

focusing on the truth<br />

of the history, the holy collaborations, and the depths of her<br />

prayer — at least, to the extent we can know. “Mother Teresa:<br />

Saint of the Peripheries” can help us be more like her,<br />

letting God stretch our hearts for him in love of others.<br />

Dana Perino’s<br />

“Everything Will<br />

Be Okay: Life<br />

Lessons for Young<br />

Women (from a<br />

Former Young<br />

Woman)” (Twelve,<br />

$17.99)<br />

Former presidential<br />

press secretary<br />

Perino is some of<br />

the best of America.<br />

She prioritizes<br />

family, faith, and<br />

mentoring. She<br />

is all about giving<br />

back and looking<br />

out for others.<br />

Her book is reflective<br />

of this and, like<br />

her “And the Good<br />

<strong>News</strong> Is…: Lessons<br />

and Advice from the Bright Side,” are encouragements to<br />

make it a point to be grateful, and never letting anyone get<br />

lost in the shuffle.<br />


Rosanna Warren’s<br />

“Max Jacob: A Life<br />

in Art and Letters”<br />

(<strong>No</strong>rton, $21.60)<br />

Warren’s book got<br />

many good reviews<br />

in serious publications<br />

and is the<br />

work of a lifetime<br />

of research. Are<br />

700 pages a lot to<br />

read about a minor<br />

French poet? There<br />

was a lot to him.<br />

Jacob was a painter<br />

and a figure in the<br />

art world of Pablo<br />

Picasso, his roommate<br />

and godfather,<br />

as well as Amedeo<br />

Modigliani. At the<br />

same time, he was<br />

also a poet and knew Guillaume Apollinaire, the surrealist<br />

doyen of French letters at the beginning of the 20th<br />

century.<br />

He was a convert and part of the French Catholic mini-Renaissance<br />

that included Jacques and Raissa Maritain.<br />

His whole life he struggled with his same-sex attraction.<br />

And he was a victim of the Holocaust because of his Jewish<br />

descent, dying of sickness before he could be put on a train<br />

to Auschwitz.<br />

<strong>July</strong> 2, <strong>2021</strong> • ANGELUS • 17



<strong>2021</strong><br />


A Rhodes Scholar at Oxford, Jory Fleming<br />

says his autism has brought him closer to<br />

God. What can we learn from him?<br />


Jory Fleming | RYAN DAWKINS<br />

It is entirely possible that people<br />

who do not personally know<br />

someone with autism spectrum<br />

disorder might form their assumptions<br />

about it from popular television and<br />

film characters, like Dustin Hoffman’s<br />

Raymond Babbit in “Rain Main,”<br />

Freddie Highmore’s Dr. Shaun Murphy<br />

of “The Good Doctor,” or Keil<br />

Gilchrist’s Sam Gardner in the Netflix<br />

series “Atypical.”<br />

But for Jory Fleming, a real-life<br />

20-something with autism, these<br />

portrayals risk doing a disservice,<br />

since they either portray persons with<br />

autism exclusively as savants or as persons<br />

struggling with socially unacceptable<br />

behaviors and tics.<br />

It’s the reason Fleming doesn’t like<br />

being pigeonholed by the fact that<br />

he is the first person with autism to<br />

attend Oxford University on a Rhodes<br />

Scholarship.<br />

“Autism is on a spectrum for a reason,”<br />

he writes in his book, “How to<br />

Be Human: an Autistic Man’s Guide<br />

to Life” (Simon and Schuster, $26).<br />

What Fleming and co-author Lyric<br />

Winik serve up in “How to Be Human”<br />

is an honest, transparent, and<br />

hopeful conversation about what it’s<br />

like for one person with autism to exist<br />

in a neurotypical world. While the<br />

book explores the latest research into<br />

how autistic brains work, the writers<br />

acknowledge that much about autism,<br />

including why it arises, remains<br />

unknown.<br />

Winik and Fleming provide the reader<br />

with a window into Fleming’s daily<br />

— sometimes hourly — struggles in<br />

processing experiences and communicating<br />

with others, as well as the will<br />

he has to flourish in a world that was<br />

not set up for him. “There are no safe<br />

spaces for me,” he poignantly shares.<br />

It is a privileged look into the mind<br />

of a man who lives with a disorder<br />

that remains a mystery to so many.<br />

But it is equally a portrait of the gifts<br />

that persons with autism bring to their<br />

18 • ANGELUS • <strong>July</strong> 2, <strong>2021</strong>

families, communities, and the world.<br />

Winik and Fleming begin their<br />

conversation examining Fleming’s<br />

childhood, one fraught with difficulty.<br />

Though Fleming does not have many<br />

memories of his childhood — something<br />

he attributes to autism — he<br />

does know one thing: His mother<br />

played an essential role in creating the<br />

necessary stability for him to flourish,<br />

and creating an at-home educational<br />

offering helped him move from<br />

being nonverbal to getting his Rhodes<br />

Scholarship.<br />

“Mom was the centerpiece of that<br />

environment,” he shares.<br />

In addition to the challenges of<br />

autism, including difficulty using<br />

language, following sequential commands,<br />

and sensory disintegration,<br />

Fleming had to battle a severe kidney<br />

infection and meningitis, on top of<br />

maneuvering the physical world with<br />

cerebral palsy.<br />

Winik asks Fleming to describe how<br />

his brain interprets what it sees, hears,<br />

and understands. For Fleming, using<br />

his brain depletes finite stores of energy,<br />

and he’s painfully aware of when<br />

his tank is low.<br />

Fleming depends heavily on visual<br />

memories and associations rather<br />

than language; he is more readily able<br />

to find the right words to articulate<br />

a point when he’s had a previous<br />

experience of something or someone.<br />

Fleming says that unlike neurotypical<br />

people, he’s never had an interior<br />

monologue or the ability to talk to<br />

himself, which he doesn’t really mind,<br />

nor is he bothered by his struggles to<br />

understand idioms or sarcasm.<br />

While babies are able to babble before<br />

learning language, Fleming says<br />

that he has to gain control of his mind<br />

and its associations before he chooses<br />

words that are accurate or appropriate<br />

to use. The latest research suggests<br />

not that there is a glaring deficit in<br />

any one sphere of an autistic person’s<br />

brain, but rather difficulty making<br />

connections between them.<br />

It would explain why Fleming is<br />

always painfully particular about<br />

picking the right words so as not<br />

to offend conversation partners or<br />

friends, whose facial expressions and<br />

emotional responses he has difficulty<br />

interpreting.<br />

In the book, Fleming also aims<br />

to dispel a myth: that persons with<br />

autism have no emotional life. While<br />

he can’t convey his emotions when<br />

speaking publicly, they are there.<br />

The difference for Fleming is that he<br />

doesn’t register having an emotion until<br />

it reaches a certain intensity. This<br />

means that he’s often misunderstood,<br />

which naturally saddens him.<br />

But he chooses to focus instead on<br />

the advantages this trait provides him:<br />

He’s less defensive and more open<br />

to constructive criticism; he doesn’t<br />

give more weight to what celebrities<br />

or pundits have to say about anything;<br />

and he’s able to be more objective in<br />

relationships and decision-making.<br />

In this, Fleming leads the reader to<br />

self-examination: Where one notices<br />

deficits — in nature, virtue, or elsewhere<br />

— there are also opportunities<br />

for grace.<br />

While he struggles to understand<br />

concepts like culture, Fleming believes<br />

his autism helps free him from<br />

some of our current societal trappings.<br />

He does not feel beholden to ideology,<br />

and is sharply critical of the way<br />

it clouds people’s judgment about reality.<br />

In a world marked by collective<br />

anger, Fleming says that he’s chosen<br />

to cultivate a personality marked by<br />

radical optimism.<br />

“I’m really driven by stuff that I want<br />

to see get better,” he writes. “I recognize<br />

that I only have about 40 or 50<br />

years to make a difference. The clock’s<br />

ticking.”<br />

Winik asks him about living in a<br />

world that is trying to eradicate what<br />

is perceived as weakness or flaws with<br />

the help of everything from gene editing<br />

to Instagram filters. This world,<br />

she suggests, might want to eradicate<br />

autism from the population.<br />

Fleming draws his conclusions from<br />

his work in marine biodiversity, which<br />

he says strengthens the ecosystem instead<br />

of weakening it. “I get confused<br />

when researchers try to find cures to<br />

autism,” he says. “I’m really appreciative<br />

for the way that I think.”<br />

While Fleming doesn’t make it a<br />

point to lead with autism when he<br />

is introducing himself to others (his<br />

LinkedIn and Twitter bios describe<br />

him as an “enigmatic and eccentric<br />

thinker”), he likewise doesn’t lead<br />

with the importance of his Christian<br />

faith. He’d prefer to leave that for<br />

after someone has gotten to know him<br />

rather than judge him for it upfront,<br />

especially because he says that his<br />

faith is driven by logic, not emotion.<br />

Fleming beautifully describes the<br />

peace he felt while attending Evensong<br />

services at Oxford University, and<br />

shares that while he prays for help in<br />

developing and sustaining interpersonal<br />

relationships, his relationship<br />

with his Creator is the easiest one<br />

for him, since he believes that God<br />

intimately knows and loves his own<br />

handiwork.<br />

In their book, Fleming and Winik<br />

invite the reader into an intimate<br />

conversation that unlocks the mystery<br />

of one autistic man’s brain. But their<br />

greatest gift is providing a window into<br />

his heart, one that is beating with love<br />

for a world that was not designed for<br />

him, but one he’s grateful to inhabit.<br />

To an increasingly hardened world,<br />

this book offers a fresh way of looking<br />

at things and one another, one<br />

that refuses to reduce people to a<br />

singular trait, one that is open to the<br />

beauty, complexity, and mystery of<br />

each person. Maybe that viewpoint is<br />

considered atypical, but it’s equally an<br />

essential way of understanding what it<br />

means to be a human being.<br />

Elise Italiano Ureneck is a contributor<br />

to <strong>Angelus</strong> and columnist for Catholic<br />

<strong>News</strong> Service writing from Boston.<br />

<strong>July</strong> 2, <strong>2021</strong> • ANGELUS • 19

LA’s Petrine privilege<br />

A shared concern for the environment has made Pope<br />

Francis a Manhattan Beach carmaker’s newest client.<br />


It’s a simple sketch of a basic all-electric<br />

car, set off by designer Henrik<br />

Fisker’s signature at the bottom.<br />

What will make it a treasured<br />

keepsake is the fact there was another<br />

simple autograph added to the piece of<br />

paper, at the top. That came from Pope<br />

Francis.<br />

The signature is nothing less than a<br />

papal stamp of approval on the first<br />

exhaust-free and emissions-free vehicle<br />

to be part of the Vatican transportation<br />

fleet. It also represents the genesis story<br />

of how a globally renowned automobile<br />

visionary based in Manhattan<br />

Beach came to seek divine assistance<br />

in creating a one-of-a-kind ride for the<br />

leader of the Catholic Church.<br />

Last May 20, a private audience in<br />

Rome with Pope Francis was arranged<br />

for Fisker, the chairman, CEO, and<br />

founder of Fisker Inc., and his wife,<br />

Geeta Gupta-Fisker, the company’s<br />

chief financial officer and chief operating<br />

officer.<br />

Being familiar with the pope’s concerns<br />

about the impact of the climate<br />

on future generations, especially those<br />

expressed in his 2015 encyclical “Laudato<br />

si’,” Fisker explained to <strong>Angelus</strong><br />

why he felt compelled to take action.<br />

“Pope Francis often speaks of his<br />

concern for the environment, so an<br />

electric vehicle with no emissions and<br />

no exhaust output is an ideal choice<br />

for the next papal transport vehicle,”<br />

Fisker said.<br />

“Pope Francis expected me to show<br />

him some renderings of the vehicle<br />

and seemed pleased with what we<br />

showed him.”<br />

The meeting<br />

Henrik Fisker shows<br />

car renderings to Pope<br />

Francis during a private<br />

audience with the pope<br />

in Rome last May 20.<br />


came about<br />

at least in part<br />

thanks to a<br />

mutual friend<br />

of Fisker’s and<br />

the pope’s, who<br />

suggested it.<br />

Domingo<br />

Zapata, a Spanish<br />

neo-expressionist artist and fashion<br />

designer, was appointed by Pope<br />

Francis to be his ambassador for his<br />

arts education charity, the Pontifical<br />

Scholas Occurrentes Foundation. The<br />

two first connected in 2018 to assist in<br />

Pope Francis’ idea to create a piece of<br />

art in celebration of immigrants.<br />

Zapata, who works from a studio in<br />

Hollywood as well as in New York and<br />

Miami, recently posted some Fisker car<br />

designs on his Instagram account and<br />

wrote, “Great to be joining the Fisker<br />

team. Together we will bring more<br />

beauty and purpose into the world.”<br />

Fisker showed Pope Francis more<br />

photos of his planned four-wheel<br />

drive EV SUV Ocean model, a<br />

$37,000-based-priced vehicle expected<br />

to be revealed at the Los Angeles Auto<br />

Show this <strong>No</strong>vember. The modified<br />

version to the pope’s specifications is<br />

expected to be finished and donated to<br />

the pope by late 2022.<br />

More than just an all-electric car,<br />

Fisker’s plans include an interior made<br />

up of a variety of sustainable materials,<br />

including carpets made from recycled<br />

plastic bottles recovered from the<br />

ocean — hence the vehicle’s name.<br />

“The initial meeting was conducted<br />

20 • ANGELUS • <strong>July</strong> 2, <strong>2021</strong>

through a translator, but he did appear<br />

intrigued by the all-electric propulsion<br />

and the electrified operation of the<br />

glass cupola,” said Fisker, a 57-year-old<br />

Danish native, describing the term<br />

used for the extended bubble that will<br />

emerge from the<br />

car’s roof for the<br />

pope to stand in<br />

and be seen while<br />

driving through<br />

crowds.<br />

It is not the first<br />

time Fisker’s<br />

designs have<br />

appeared on the<br />

A rendering of the<br />

first exhaust-free and<br />

emissions-free vehicle<br />

that will be part of the<br />

Vatican transportation<br />

fleet. | FISKER INC.<br />

world stage. He started his career at<br />

BMW in Munich and put himself into<br />

the cultural map by designing a Z8<br />

roadster that Pierce Brosnan, as James<br />

Bond, drove in the 1999 film “The<br />

World is <strong>No</strong>t Enough.”<br />

“His feelings for James Bond were<br />

unfortunately not revealed” at the audience<br />

in Rome, Fisker was quick to add.<br />

Several eco-friendly vehicles for the<br />

pope’s use have recently been produced<br />

by Toyota (a hydrogen fuel-cell<br />

Mirai), Renault (an electric van) and<br />

Mercedes-Benz (a hybrid). Pope Francis<br />

has been said to be most fond of<br />

modest vehicles such as a Ford Focus<br />

or smaller economy cars produced by<br />

Fiat or Jeep.<br />

Through the years, custom-built<br />

vehicles often given to popes for their<br />

public appearances have been more<br />

commonly called “popemobiles.”<br />

Mercedes-Benz, which has been<br />

providing vehicles to the popes since<br />

1930, released a statement when it<br />

gave St. Pope John Paul II an M-Class<br />

Mercedes-Benz in 2002, asking the<br />

media to stop using the term “papa-mobile”<br />

because the pontiff said it was<br />

“not commensurate with the dignity<br />

and purpose of these automobiles.”<br />

Fisker says he has undertaken the<br />

project well-aware of the teachings of<br />

“Laudato si’,” in which the pope urged<br />

“swift and unified global action” to<br />

confront environmental degradation<br />

and man-made climate change. Pope<br />

Francis argued that the environmental<br />

crisis can ultimately only be solved if<br />

our immense technological developments<br />

are accompanied by a “development<br />

in human responsibility, values,<br />

and conscience.”<br />

The car sketch by Henrik<br />

Fisker that is signed<br />

by both him and Pope<br />

Francis. | FISKER INC.<br />

Asked if he<br />

might sense<br />

that employees<br />

of Fisker Inc.,<br />

whether they<br />

were Catholic or<br />

otherwise, might<br />

take a sense of pride and a connection<br />

to the pope because of this new<br />

relationship, Fisker responded: “We<br />

are proud of any stakeholder willing to<br />

trust us to build a beautifully considered<br />

vehicle for them, regardless<br />

of religion. We are all humbled and<br />

honored to build a vehicle for Pope<br />

Francis, especially given his concerns<br />

for the environment.”<br />

Tom Hoffarth is an award-winning<br />

journalist based in Los Angeles.<br />

<strong>July</strong> 2, <strong>2021</strong> • ANGELUS • 21

From left, Detroit Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron, vice president of<br />

the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Archbishop José H. Gomez<br />

of Los Angeles, USCCB president, and Msgr. Jeffrey D. Burrill, USC-<br />

CB general secretary, are pictured on the opening day of the bishops’<br />

three-day virtual spring meeting June 16. | CNS/BOB ROLLER<br />


An intense, three-hour-long debate on a Eucharist document revealed<br />

key differences among bishops on their identity and role.<br />


The U.S. Conference of Catholic<br />

Bishops (USCCB) began its<br />

virtual June 16-18 spring Plenary<br />

Assembly in an unusual fashion<br />

this year.<br />

Before the body’s president, Archbishop<br />

José H. Gomez of Los Angeles,<br />

or Pope Francis’ representative in the<br />

U.S., Archbishop Christophe Pierre,<br />

even had a chance to give their opening<br />

addresses via Zoom, the bishops<br />

found themselves voting on whether<br />

to officially give themselves more time<br />

to talk.<br />

They voted not to, but over the next<br />

three days they did just that anyway:<br />

On each of the meeting’s three days,<br />

the bishops went well over their allotted<br />

meeting time. On the second day,<br />

Archbishop Gomez ceded the floor<br />

to more than 40 bishops during an unprecedented<br />

three-hour discussion.<br />

The reason for all the talking among<br />

the bishops was for them to decide<br />

whether to begin drafting a document<br />

on the meaning of the Eucharist,<br />

including the notion of “eucharistic<br />

coherence” for Catholic politicians<br />

who publicly support legal abortion<br />

and other moral evils.<br />

The idea for the document originated<br />

from a task force formed by<br />

Archbishop Gomez last <strong>No</strong>vember to<br />

help the bishops navigate the delicate<br />

task of dialogue with newly elected<br />

President Joe Biden, a practicing<br />

Catholic whose policies on abortion<br />

rights and other social issues are at<br />

odds with Church teaching.<br />

As the debate on whether the bishops’<br />

doctrine committee should move<br />

ahead with drafting the document<br />

unfolded, a key question emerged: Are<br />

the bishops teachers or policymakers?<br />

Although media reports widely portrayed<br />

that the bishops were debating<br />

whether to deny Communion to President<br />

Biden and other pro-abortion<br />

Catholic politicians, doctrine committee<br />

chair Bishop Kevin Rhoades<br />

of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Indiana,<br />

said it was never the bishops’ intention<br />

to determine a “national policy” on<br />

politicians and Communion.<br />

“We’re not talking about a national<br />

policy, but a teaching document<br />

here,” Archbishop Alexander Sample<br />

of Portland, Oregon, agreed in his<br />

comments during the debate.<br />

Bishop Rhoades said the bishops are<br />

deeply concerned with polls that show<br />

many Catholics do not understand<br />

the meaning of the Eucharist and that<br />

the proposed document was meant to<br />

be educational, not disciplinary.<br />

As a body, the conference of bishops<br />

has no authority to set policies on who<br />

is worthy to receive Communion. In a<br />

2004 statement, the U.S. bishops said<br />

22 • ANGELUS • <strong>July</strong> 2, <strong>2021</strong>

that such determinations can only be<br />

made by individual bishops regarding<br />

politicians and public officials in their<br />

local dioceses.<br />

“Bishops can legitimately make different<br />

judgments on the most prudent<br />

course of pastoral action,” according<br />

to the statement. “Nevertheless, we all<br />

share an unequivocal commitment to<br />

protect human life and dignity and to<br />

preach the Gospel in difficult times.”<br />

Bishops opposing the drafting of a<br />

new document cited a May letter from<br />

Cardinal Luis Ladaria, prefect of the<br />

Congregation for the Doctrine of the<br />

Faith, who warned that any “national<br />

policy” on Catholic politicians and<br />

the Eucharist could “become a source<br />

of discord rather than unity” among<br />

the U.S. bishops.<br />

Cardinal Joseph Tobin of Newark,<br />

New Jersey, said denying Communion<br />

to politicians would “thrust” the<br />

bishops “into the very heart of the toxic<br />

partisan strife which has distorted<br />

our own political culture and crippled<br />

meaningful dialogue.”<br />

Such a move, Cardinal Tobin said,<br />

“will drive a wedge between the<br />

Church and American society as a<br />

whole.”<br />

Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego<br />

warned against the “weaponization<br />

of the Eucharist in partisan battles.”<br />

Focusing too much on issues like<br />

abortion and euthanasia would also<br />

“limit the Church’s witness in other<br />

areas of moral concern,” such as<br />

immigration and the environment, he<br />

said.<br />

While bishops opposing the document<br />

stressed its possible political<br />

consequences, supporters seemed<br />

more concerned with the bishops’<br />

responsibility as moral leaders and<br />

teachers.<br />

Bishop Donald DeGrood of Sioux<br />

Falls, South Dakota, said he had<br />

encountered Catholics in his diocese<br />

who were “scandalized” by<br />

the bishops’ lack of clarity on what<br />

the Church teaches on “eucharistic<br />

coherence,” an expression that comes<br />

from a 2007 Latin American bishops’<br />

document drafted by a commission<br />

headed by then-Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio,<br />

now Pope Francis.<br />

That document insisted: “We must<br />

adhere to ‘eucharistic coherence,’ that<br />

is, be conscious that they [legislators,<br />

heads of government, and health<br />

professionals] cannot receive holy<br />

communion and at the same time<br />

act with deeds or words against the<br />

commandments, particularly when<br />

abortion, euthanasia, and other grave<br />

crimes against life and the family are<br />

encouraged.”<br />

Bishop Donald Hying of Madison,<br />

Wisconsin, was one of a few supporters<br />

of the document who actually<br />

named President Biden.<br />

President Biden’s professed Catholicism,<br />

while advancing policies strongly<br />

contradicting Catholic teaching<br />

Bishop Kevin Rhoades, chair of the U.S.<br />

bishops’ doctrine committee, gave a taped<br />

presentation explaining the planned document<br />

on the Eucharist. | YOUTUBE<br />

on abortion and family life, had left<br />

faithful “concerned and confused”<br />

and looking to the bishops for clear<br />

teaching, Bishop Hying said.<br />

Following three hours of debate,<br />

nearly three-quarters (73%) of the<br />

bishops voted to begin drafting the<br />

document.<br />

Although the document was clearly<br />

intended to be pastoral, educational,<br />

and exhortative, not political<br />

or disciplinary, nearly every major<br />

commercial media outlet chose to<br />

characterize the bishops as moving to<br />

censure President Biden and others.<br />

“Targeting Biden, Catholic Bishops<br />

Advance Controversial Communion<br />

Plan,” The New York Times headlined<br />

its report.<br />

And in the confusion surrounding<br />

the document, some politicians chose<br />

to use the moment to challenge the<br />

bishops.<br />

More than 60 pro-abortion Catholic<br />

Democrats in the House of Representatives<br />

issued a “statement of principles,”<br />

warning the bishops against “the<br />

weaponization of the Eucharist.”<br />

One pro-abortion member of Congress<br />

took to social media to say, “Next<br />

time I go to church, I dare you to<br />

deny me communion.”<br />

The bishops are expected to meet by<br />

region in the coming months to generate<br />

input for a draft to be discussed<br />

and voted on at their next meeting, to<br />

be held in person in Baltimore <strong>No</strong>v.<br />

15-18.<br />

The process will surely be marked by<br />

more of the intense, apparently fruitful<br />

dialogue from last week’s meeting.<br />

But it will also come with some<br />

challenges. Among these challenges<br />

will be trying to avoid direct confrontation<br />

with President Biden and<br />

other pro-abortion Catholics, without<br />

sounding too vague.<br />

Timing will also be a concern. Is<br />

there enough calendar space in the<br />

five months for the bishops to get<br />

together and come up with things to<br />

say in the document? Given the pace<br />

at which the bishops’ conferences<br />

processes normally move, and the<br />

unpredictability of the relevant policy<br />

battles that might break out in Washington,<br />

D.C., this year, who can say?<br />

But the biggest challenge may be<br />

coming to a shared understanding of<br />

what a bishop is supposed to say and<br />

do in <strong>2021</strong> America.<br />

Judging by their remarks this week,<br />

bishops opposed to a document on<br />

the Eucharist seem to fear that it will<br />

hamper the bishops’ conferences’ efforts<br />

to advocate for social justice and<br />

those “on the peripheries” of society.<br />

Those favoring the new document<br />

seem to fear that if the bishops fail<br />

to lead and teach strongly, they will<br />

lose their credibility with the faithful<br />

as well as their moral authority in<br />

society.<br />

In their remarks, both Archbishop<br />

Gomez and Archbishop Pierre<br />

identified unity as the bishops’ most<br />

pressing need in <strong>2021</strong>. After their latest<br />

Zoom meeting, it is clear that the<br />

bishops will need all the talking time<br />

they can get in the next five months if<br />

they want any chance of finding it.<br />

Pablo Kay is the editor-in-chief of<br />

<strong>Angelus</strong>.<br />

<strong>July</strong> 2, <strong>2021</strong> • ANGELUS • 23

A Church on the run<br />

Catholics are caught in the middle of an escalating battle between<br />

Myanmar’s military junta and resistance forces.<br />


Villagers who fled after insurgents attacked a Myanmar<br />

army post sit at a school in the Thai border village of Mae<br />

Sam Laep, Mae Hong Son province, Thailand, on April 27.<br />


ROME — Attacks on churches<br />

and arrests of clergy in Myanmar<br />

are becoming increasingly common,<br />

as the Catholic Church is being<br />

targeted for its alleged opposition to<br />

the ruling military junta.<br />

The persecution of Catholics is one<br />

consequence of a humanitarian crisis<br />

caused by an escalation in hostilities<br />

between Myanmar’s armed military<br />

forces and resistance groups, as the<br />

junta seeks to crush opponents of a<br />

Feb. 1 coup that ousted Aung San Suu<br />

Kyi and other democratically elected<br />

officials on charges of falsifying the<br />

results of the country’s <strong>No</strong>vember 2020<br />

elections and inciting public disorder.<br />

In parts of the country where fighting<br />

is more intense, civilians are fleeing<br />

their villages and seeking refuge in the<br />

jungle to avoid getting caught in the<br />

crossfire.<br />

For Catholics, stories like those of Father<br />

Michael Aung Ling are becoming<br />

increasingly common. Arrested June<br />

16 for suspected support of opposition<br />

forces in the town of Kanpetlet, the<br />

priest was reportedly released following<br />

11 hours of interrogation only after<br />

signing a document promising not to<br />

support opposition groups.<br />

The same day, six priests and one<br />

layperson were detained for allegedly<br />

assisting young rebels in the village of<br />

Mandalay.<br />

Several churches, where thousands<br />

have sought refuge amid shelling and<br />

gunfire, have also been targeted in<br />

recent weeks. On May 24, the military<br />

shelled Sacred Heart Church in Kayan<br />

Thar Yar, near Loikaw, with heavy<br />

artillery. More than 300 people had<br />

sought refuge in the church to avoid<br />

coming under fire. Four people were<br />

killed and at least eight wounded. Parishes,<br />

a cathedral, and even a seminary<br />

where more than 1,300 civilians had<br />

taken refuge have also been attacked.<br />

In response, Myanmar’s bishops have<br />

appealed to the military, asking them<br />

to allow humanitarian aid to reach<br />

24 • ANGELUS • <strong>July</strong> 2, <strong>2021</strong>

people displaced by fighting, and to<br />

stop targeting places of worship.<br />

“As our country goes through her<br />

challenging times, this appeal is made<br />

on humanitarian grounds. We are<br />

not politicians, we are faith leaders,<br />

accompanying our people in their<br />

journey towards human dignity,” Myanmar’s<br />

bishops said June 11.<br />

<strong>No</strong>ting that thousands of people<br />

have sought refuge in churches amid<br />

increased fighting, the bishops asked<br />

the military to “kindly observe the international<br />

norms of sanctuary in war<br />

times: churches, pagodas, monasteries,<br />

mosques, temples, including schools<br />

and hospitals, are recognized as neutral<br />

places of refuge during conflict.<br />

“We appeal that these places are not<br />

to be attacked and the people who<br />

seek refuge should be protected,” they<br />

said.<br />

However, locals have said this request<br />

is being ignored, and that despite<br />

the repeated appeal of the bishops<br />

and United Nations human rights<br />

advocates, churches continue to be<br />

targeted.<br />

On June <strong>13</strong>, military forces reportedly<br />

broke into a convent in the Archdiocese<br />

of Mandalay and detained<br />

several priests for more than 24 hours,<br />

questioning them about alleged ties to<br />

rebel groups.<br />

Most church functions in the Diocese<br />

of Loikaw, where some of the<br />

worst fighting in the east of the country<br />

is centered, have all but ceased since<br />

gatherings are considered too dangerous.<br />

Villages are being abandoned,<br />

and several parishes in the diocese<br />

are now empty, with the local pastors<br />

being the only remaining members of<br />

the community.<br />

The plight of Christians in the country<br />

has now caught the attention of the<br />

U.N. On June 11, U.N. High Commissioner<br />

for Human Rights Michelle<br />

Bachelet expressed worry about how<br />

the fighting has been largely concentrated<br />

“in areas with significant ethnic<br />

and religious minority groups.<br />

“State security forces have continued<br />

to use heavy weaponry, including<br />

airstrikes, against armed groups and<br />

against civilians and civilian objects,<br />

including Christian churches,” she<br />

said, estimating that around 108,000<br />

citizens have fled their homes in<br />

Kayah State alone in the past month.<br />

Many are sheltering in forest and<br />

mountain areas “with little or no food,<br />

water, sanitation, or medical care.<br />

These are people in urgent need of<br />

humanitarian assistance,” she said,<br />

citing what she said were “credible<br />

reports” indicating that military forces<br />

“have used civilians as human shields,<br />

shelled civilian homes and churches<br />

… and blocked humanitarian access,<br />

including by attacking humanitarian<br />

actors.”<br />

<strong>No</strong>t only have hospitals and religious<br />

churches and institutions been<br />

targeted, but schools have also been<br />

fired upon in an effort to stop parents<br />

from enrolling their children for the<br />

new school year, Bachelet said, noting<br />

that thousands of teachers have either<br />

refused to return to work or been<br />

suspended, meaning the majority of<br />

children in Myanmar “will not be able<br />

to access their right to education.”<br />

“Rather than seeking dialogue, the<br />

military is branding its opponents as<br />

‘terrorists’ and pursuing politically motivated<br />

charges against the democratic<br />

leadership,” Bachelet said, adding that<br />

in just four months, Myanmar “has<br />

gone from being a fragile democracy<br />

to a human rights catastrophe.”<br />

“The military leadership is singularly<br />

responsible for this crisis, and must be<br />

held to account,” she said.<br />

Bachelet is expected to update the<br />

U.N. Human Rights Council on<br />

the status of Myanmar <strong>July</strong> 7. In the<br />

meantime, the trial for ousted democratic<br />

leader Aung San Suu Kyi, which<br />

began June 14, is ongoing.<br />

Aung San Suu Kyi, who faces a total<br />

of seven charges including corruption,<br />

bribery, and breaking coronavirus lockdown<br />

rules, could face a decades-long<br />

prison sentence depending on the<br />

outcome of her trial, which is expected<br />

to conclude around <strong>July</strong> 24.<br />

Elise Ann Allen is a senior correspondent<br />

for Crux in Rome, covering the<br />

Vatican and the global Church.<br />

<strong>July</strong> 2, <strong>2021</strong> • ANGELUS • 25



A positive case for being negative<br />

I<br />

learned two new phrases recently:<br />

“sex positive” and “sex negative.”<br />

Sex positive means you have a<br />

“healthy” and “open” attitude toward<br />

sex. All sex. Any sex. With anybody or<br />

bodies. As long as it is consensual.<br />

Sex positive has a bit of a history, but<br />

it was pushed into living rooms everywhere<br />

by Katie Thurston, this season’s<br />

“Bachelorette.” According to Variety,<br />

“Thurston was first introduced to<br />

viewers on Matt James’ season of ‘The<br />

Bachelor’ when she stepped out of the<br />


limousine with a vibrator in hand,”<br />

becoming “a buzzy fan-favorite for her<br />

sex positivity.”<br />

Sex negative (you are probably way<br />

ahead of me on this) would describe<br />

those who think sex is reserved for marriage<br />

between two people, ideally two<br />

different genders assigned at birth.<br />

It is a shrewd stroke of marketing,<br />

since we all know that being positive<br />

is way better than being negative, like<br />

all those fuddy-duddies who support<br />

traditional marriage.<br />

This continues a line of attack that<br />

has been going on for at least the last<br />

century, claiming that traditionalists in<br />

general, and the Catholic Church in<br />

particular, are obsessed with the “pelvic<br />

issues.”<br />

Because of this hang-up, we are told,<br />

we have all sorts of problems resulting<br />

from this sex-negative attitude, with a<br />

particular emphasis on guilt and shame.<br />

Walking on to primetime television<br />

with vibrator in hand like Lady Liberty<br />

holding her lamp aloft in New York<br />

Harbor is a declaration of independence<br />

and tolerance, and, you know, all<br />

that good stuff.<br />

It seems hard to believe that society<br />

still needs evangelists of sexual tolerance.<br />

Perhaps in the dark ages of<br />

the 1950s this was so, but we live in a<br />

society with no guardrails and very few<br />

boundaries. Every sort of coupling is<br />

tolerated these days.<br />

We have advocates for polyamory and<br />

sex workers. We are awash in porn,<br />

which means we are awash in what<br />

is coyly called “self-pleasuring.” We<br />

parade our preferences. In short, we<br />

tolerate everything with the exception<br />

of those darn sex negatives.<br />

We must be the happiest, most positive<br />

people in the history of the planet.<br />

Except we are most definitely not.<br />

Depression and anxiety among our<br />

young people are at sky-high rates.<br />

They face a world of infinite sexual<br />

and lifestyle choices, and it seems to be<br />

paralyzing.<br />

We are awash in consumer options,<br />

shoppers perennially strolling the aisles<br />

of a carnal mega-mart of sexual choice.<br />

Besides the usual alphabet list, we have<br />

demisexuals, asexuals, and two-spirit<br />

persons. (I’ll let you look the definitions<br />

up at home.)<br />

26 • ANGELUS • <strong>July</strong> 2, <strong>2021</strong>

Greg Erlandson is the president and<br />

editor-in-chief of Catholic <strong>News</strong> Service.<br />

Against this astounding array of<br />

choices are pitted the poor, pitiful sex<br />

negatives who are committed to a stable<br />

marriage and a stable family.<br />

The truth is that we live in a world positively<br />

obsessed about the pelvic issues,<br />

a world where the Church and all of us<br />

sex negatives can hardly get a word in<br />

edgewise.<br />

Of course, we sex negatives do view<br />

things a bit differently. We believe sex<br />

is best understood within the context of<br />

marriage, in an atmosphere of trust and<br />

self-giving. The love between husband<br />

and wife “combines the warmth of<br />

friendship and erotic passion, and<br />

endures long after emotions and passion<br />

subside.” Pope Francis wrote that in<br />

the remarkable fourth chapter of his<br />

document “Amoris Laetitia,” or “The<br />

Joy of Love.”<br />

In a beautiful passage in the same<br />

document, he calls erotic love “a gift<br />

from God that enriches the relationship<br />

of the spouses. As a passion sublimated<br />

by a love respectful of the dignity of the<br />

other, it becomes a ‘pure, unadulterated<br />

affirmation’ revealing the marvels of<br />

which the human heart is capable. In<br />

this way, even momentarily, we can<br />

feel that ‘life has turned out good and<br />

happy’ ” (152).<br />

The truth that the Church defends is<br />

that which the human heart longs for.<br />

“The very nature of conjugal love [is] to<br />

be definitive,” the pope writes. “Marriage<br />

is rooted in the natural inclinations<br />

of the human person.”<br />

Sex is a powerful impulse. We have<br />

countless examples in our society of its<br />

abuse, as the #MeToo movement has<br />

graphically demonstrated. Pope Francis<br />

calls for a “healthy realism” when it<br />

comes to a vision of sexuality, recognizing<br />

how it can be depersonalized and<br />

exploitative.<br />

Even in marriage, “sex can become a<br />

source of suffering and manipulation,”<br />

he writes. The church is not so foolish<br />

as to think that marriage is some sort<br />

of guarantor of bliss. And yet it is in<br />

marriage where both the pollsters and<br />

the theologians say we can find a deep<br />

and profound joy, that combination<br />

of friendship and passion that is both<br />

positive and life-giving, and the best<br />

foundation for children.<br />

At the end of the day, phrases like “sex<br />

positive” and “sex negative” are simply<br />

ideological slogans selling a passé vision<br />

of human sexuality that feels more and<br />

more like a dead end rather than a<br />

brave new world.<br />

<strong>July</strong> 2, <strong>2021</strong> • ANGELUS • 27



The latest ‘Conjuring’ installment keeps<br />

Hollywood’s fascination with spiritual warfare alive.<br />


This scene in “The Conjuring:<br />

The Devil Made Me Do It,”<br />

is an homage to a lookalike<br />

moment in “The Exorcist.”<br />


“I<br />

just can’t remember one quite<br />

like this,” says the occult detective<br />

Ed Warren in “The Conjuring<br />

3: The Devil Made Me Do It.”<br />

The rest of us can, or we will, if we<br />

just wait a minute — because shortly<br />

after Ed speaks these words in the movie’s<br />

opening segment, a shadowy figure<br />

steps out of a taxicab. Wearing a hat<br />

and holding a briefcase, he gazes up at<br />

a lighted window in the darkness. The<br />

scene is an homage to a lookalike moment<br />

in “The Exorcist,” when Father<br />

Merrin, the priest played by Max von<br />

Sydow, arrives at the townhouse where<br />

he will battle a demon who possesses<br />

a child.<br />

Many viewers will be on familiar<br />

ground even if they haven’t seen that<br />

1973 horror-movie classic. Two previous<br />

installments of “The Conjuring”<br />

series, featuring the Catholic para-<br />

normal investigators Ed and Lorraine<br />

Warren (played by Patrick Wilson and<br />

Vera Farmiga), reached theaters in<br />

20<strong>13</strong> and 2016.<br />

Five spinoffs also have hit the silver<br />

screen, as part of what fans sometimes<br />

call “The Conjuring Universe.” In<br />

worldwide box-office revenue, these<br />

eight movies so far have raked in<br />

around $2 billion, and even as their<br />

quality has varied, they’ve allowed Hollywood<br />

to show a surprising reverence<br />

for the idea of spiritual warfare.<br />

“The Conjuring 3” begins with a<br />

botched exorcism, as the Warrens seek<br />

to document the efforts of Father Gordon<br />

(Steve Coulter), who tries to expel<br />

a demon from an 8-year-old boy, David<br />

Glatzel (Julian Hilliard). Under the<br />

skillful direction of Michael Chaves,<br />

this initial sequence is the movie’s most<br />

harrowing moment, even as it relies<br />

on the usual theatrics of flying objects,<br />

glowing eyes, and impossible body<br />

contortions.<br />

Amid the chaos, members of the Glatzel<br />

family start to despair. Arne Johnson<br />

(Ruairi O’Connor), the boyfriend<br />

of David’s older sister (Sarah Catherine<br />

Hook), invites the unclean spirit to<br />

depart from David and to possess him<br />

instead. This is an amazing sacrifice as<br />

well as an offer the demon apparently<br />

can’t refuse, and the rest of the movie<br />

involves the murder and mayhem that<br />

follows from this supernatural transfer.<br />

It’s a tale of curses, witch totems,<br />

leatherbound books in Latin, black-sabbath<br />

ceremonies, and a creepy Satanist<br />

who bears an uncanny resemblance to<br />

Mrs. Danvers, the villain played by Judith<br />

Anderson in “Rebecca,” the 1940<br />

film by Alfred Hitchcock.<br />

Like its two tentpole predecessors,<br />

28 • ANGELUS • <strong>July</strong> 2, <strong>2021</strong>

“The Conjuring 3” claims to be “based<br />

on the true story” — in this instance,<br />

a 1981 court case in Connecticut in<br />

which the real-life Warrens worked<br />

with Arne and his contention that he<br />

was not guilty of murder by reason of<br />

deviltry.<br />

In legal lore, it’s sometimes called<br />

the “Devil Made Me Do It” case, and<br />

this nickname provides the subtitle of<br />

“The Conjuring 3,” which nevertheless<br />

takes major liberties with actual events.<br />

This is not a true-crime documentary,<br />

but a horror flick that aims to provide<br />

frightful entertainment.<br />

<strong>No</strong>r is it a work of theology, and it<br />

doesn’t approach its subject with the seriousness<br />

of “The Exorcist,” which was<br />

based on the 1971 novel by William<br />

Peter Blatty, who viewed his religious<br />

thriller as an expression of Catholic belief.<br />

The book and the screenplay, for<br />

which Blatty won an Academy Award,<br />

have their notorious aspects, including<br />

depictions of blasphemy. Despite their<br />

fame, they aren’t for everyone.<br />

Reasonable people differ on whether<br />

they do more harm than good. They<br />

are, however, honest efforts to consider<br />

the threat of possession, the nature of<br />

evil, the problem of doubt, the importance<br />

of hope, and the soul-saving<br />

mission of the Catholic Church.<br />

Although “The Conjuring 3” lacks<br />

the depth of “The Exorcist,” it shares<br />

an appreciation for faith as an aid to<br />

the troubled. As they go about their<br />

adventures, the Warrens and their<br />

spiritual allies make the sign of the<br />

cross, sprinkle holy water, and clutch<br />

rosaries, always with devotion. Moviegoers<br />

will hear Psalm 23 (“The lord<br />

is my shepherd”), Psalm 24 (“Who<br />

shall ascend the hill of the lord?”), and<br />

Ephesians 6:11 (“Put on the full armor<br />

of God”), uttered with piety.<br />

“The Conjuring 3” also understands<br />

a point that C.S. Lewis made in the<br />

preface to “The Screwtape Letters,”<br />

his epistolary novel on the behavior<br />

of demons: “There are two equal and<br />

opposite errors into which our race can<br />

fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve<br />

in their existence. The other is to<br />

believe, and to feel an excessive and<br />

unhealthy interest in them.”<br />

The Warrens are true believers who<br />

both confront and cooperate with<br />

secular disbelievers. “Ed and I have<br />

proven the existence of the demonic<br />

hundreds of times,” says Lorraine,<br />

as she discusses Arne’s predicament<br />

with a lawyer. “You’ve proven it to the<br />

Church,” replies the lawyer. “This is a<br />

court of law. The standards of evidence<br />

are completely different.”<br />

Then Ed jumps in: “The court<br />

accepts the existence of God every<br />

time a witness swears to tell the truth.<br />

I think it’s about time they accept the<br />

existence of the devil.” Later, the Warrens<br />

talk to a skeptical cop. “I’m only<br />

interested in leads that are grounded<br />

in reality,” he says. “Good,” replies Ed.<br />

“So are we.”<br />

But do the Warrens — and the entire<br />

enterprise of “The Conjuring” —<br />

move too far in the other direction, toward<br />

credulity and attraction? Do they<br />

display an excessive and unhealthy<br />

interest in hell’s legions?<br />

The movie certainly recognizes fiendish<br />

trickery: With humor and subtlety,<br />

it turns “Baby Hold On” and “Call<br />

Me,” the rock songs by Eddie Money<br />

and Blondie, into anthems of possession<br />

and summoning. It also knows the<br />

seductive power of evil. In a revelatory<br />

scene, a character describes how the<br />

study of the occult can become a<br />

source of human wickedness and then<br />

confesses, “I created a fascination.”<br />

While the movie’s tribute to “The<br />

Exorcist” is a fitting hat-tip to horror-movie<br />

tradition, the other recyclings<br />

of “The Conjuring 3” are less<br />

compelling. They include an obligatory<br />

levitation, creaky wooden steps that<br />

descend into spooky basements, and<br />

the flabbergasting refusal of otherwise<br />

smart characters in poorly lit rooms to<br />

reach for light switches.<br />

At the climax,<br />

Vera Farmiga and Patrick<br />

Wilson in “The Conjuring:<br />

The Devil Made Me Do It.”<br />


when life and<br />

death hang in<br />

the balance, Lorraine<br />

pulls out a<br />

platitude: “She<br />

thinks our love<br />

is our weakness,<br />

but it’s not.” Pause. “It’s our strength.”<br />

Go ahead and roll your eyes. There<br />

may not be a bigger cliché in the<br />

whole movie. But that doesn’t make it<br />

wrong.<br />

John J. Miller is director of the Dow<br />

Journalism Program at Hillsdale College,<br />

national correspondent for National<br />

Review, and the author of “Reading<br />

Around: Journalism on Authors, Artists,<br />

and Ideas” (Woodbridge Press, $12.99).<br />

<strong>July</strong> 2, <strong>2021</strong> • ANGELUS • 29



A place to soften solitude<br />

The Los Angeles Central Library. | PERUPHOTAR /SHUTTERSTOCK<br />

For those of us who can’t afford to<br />

buy all of the books we read, the<br />

library is as essential as a grocery<br />

store. We need books to remind us how<br />

deeply we are connected. We need<br />

books because we know we are going to<br />

die. Bewildered, alone, or despairing,<br />

we still have Anne Frank, Ivan Ilyich,<br />

Gregor Samsa.<br />

Susan Orlean, a New York writer and<br />

author of the best-selling book “The<br />

Orchid Thief,” had frequented her<br />

local library as a kid. As an adult, living<br />

in New York City, she got into the<br />

habit of buying her own books.<br />

In 2011, however, her husband<br />

accepted a job in LA. They moved to<br />

the Valley and one of her 6-year-old<br />

son’s first assignments was to interview<br />

someone who worked for the city.<br />

Orlean suggested a public library, so<br />

the two of them went to the Bertram<br />

Woods branch.<br />

Entering a library again after all those<br />

years flooded Orlean with sensory<br />

memories. Everything was the same,<br />

she realized: the “creak and groan<br />

of the book carts,” the soft sound of<br />

pencils on paper, the “muffled murmuring”<br />

of the patrons, the raggedy<br />

community bulletin board.<br />

“It wasn’t that time stopped in the<br />

library. It was as if it were captured<br />

here, collected here, and in all libraries<br />

— and not only my time, my life, but<br />

all human time as well. In the library,<br />

time is dammed up — not just stopped<br />

but saved. The library is a gathering<br />

pool of narratives and of the people<br />

who come to find them. It is where we<br />

can glimpse immortality; in the library,<br />

we can live forever.”<br />

A door opened. “The Library Book”<br />

(Simon & Schuster, $<strong>13</strong>.69) is the<br />

fruit of what happened when Orlean<br />

stepped through it.<br />

The book is ostensibly about the fire<br />

that ravaged the Central Library on<br />

April 29, 1986. A million books were<br />

damaged or destroyed. Irreplaceable<br />

artifacts were reduced to ash. The arsonist<br />

— if there was an arsonist — has<br />

never been found, though for years a<br />

would-be actor and fabulist Harry Peak<br />

30 • ANGELUS • <strong>July</strong> 2, <strong>2021</strong>

Heather King is an award-winning<br />

author, speaker, and workshop leader.<br />

was the suspect.<br />

But Orlean’s triumph is really to<br />

champion the institution of the library<br />

in general, and in specific, our own<br />

Los Angeles Public Library.<br />

Her book is meticulously researched,<br />

amplified by countless interviews, and<br />

made human by the innumerable visits<br />

she made to the library itself.<br />

We learn of our city librarians, from<br />

John Littlefield in 1873, to Mary Foy<br />

in 1880, to Charles Lummis’ tumultuous<br />

reign from 1905 to 1910, to today’s<br />

John F. Szabo.<br />

Every page is packed with compelling<br />

stories and factoids. The notes left in<br />

returned books, like messages in a<br />

bottle. One, from 1914, reads: “I have<br />

searched three cities for you and advertised<br />

in vain. Knowing that you like<br />

books, I am writing this appeal in every<br />

library book I can get hold of in hope<br />

that it may come to your eyes. Write to<br />

me at the old address, please.”<br />

A wildly popular phone-in reference<br />

service was instituted in the 1930s,<br />

to which library patrons placed calls<br />

ranging from “What Romeo looked<br />

like” to “Number of Jewish families in<br />

Glendale” to “Whether immortality<br />

can be perceived in the iris of the eye.”<br />

The science-fiction writer Ray Bradbury<br />

(1920-2012) spent almost every<br />

day for <strong>13</strong> years at the Central Library,<br />

reading through the stacks and educating<br />

himself as an alternative to college.<br />

“The library was my nesting place, my<br />

birthing place; it was my<br />

growing place.”<br />

Bertram Goodhue’s Modernist-Art<br />

Deco temple,<br />

the Central Library at 630<br />

W. 5th St. in downtown<br />

LA, had opened in 1926.<br />

Critic Merrill Gage wrote<br />

in Artland <strong>News</strong>, “Like all<br />

creative art, it is disturbing:<br />

it leaves an impression that<br />

is satisfying yet mystifying.<br />

It follows no accepted<br />

method of architecture but through<br />

it strains of the Spanish, of the East,<br />

of the modern European, come and<br />

go like folk songs in a great symphony<br />

rising to new and undreamt-of heights<br />

in an order truly American in spirit.”<br />

Almost 100 years later, that’s a kind<br />

of description of the city itself that still<br />

holds.<br />

In fact, some of the most poignant<br />

passages are those describing the emotional<br />

devastation experienced by the<br />

library staff after the 1986 fire. People<br />

couldn’t sleep, eat. They worried that<br />

the patrons would feel abandoned.<br />

One woman wore white for several<br />

months, “hoping that would help her<br />

feel pure again.”<br />

<strong>Vol</strong>unteers appeared out of the<br />

woodwork; donations poured in.<br />

Approximately 700,000 books had<br />

been damaged. Restoring the Central<br />

Library collection would prove to be<br />

the biggest book-drying project ever<br />

undertaken. What could be salvaged<br />

was salvaged. Loss, eventually, was<br />

accepted.<br />

After seven years, the last four in a<br />

cramped Spring Street location, the<br />

Central Library reopened. Today it<br />

serves more than 4 million people, the<br />

largest population of any public library<br />

in the U.S.<br />

“A library is a good place to soften solitude,”<br />

observes Orlean, “a place where<br />

you feel part of a conversation that has<br />

gone on for hundreds and hundreds of<br />

years even when you’re all<br />

alone.”<br />

Librarian Russell<br />

Garrigan had worked for<br />

the library department<br />

Teen’Scape for 17 years<br />

when Orlean asked if he<br />

enjoyed his job.<br />

Garrigan replied,<br />

“Well, my hero is Albert<br />

Scwheitzer. He said, ‘All<br />

true living takes place faceto-face.’<br />

”<br />

<strong>July</strong> 2, <strong>2021</strong> • ANGELUS • 31



Scott Hahn is founder of the<br />

St. Paul Center for Biblical<br />

Theology; stpaulcenter.com.<br />

A force of grace<br />

First in a series of columns on St. Paul.<br />

It’s impossible to imagine what the last 2,000 years<br />

would have been if St. Paul had not lived at the far<br />

end of them. All the years since have borne the mark<br />

of Christianity — and so much of what we understand<br />

about Christianity, and especially about the cross, we have<br />

learned from the great Apostle to the Gentiles.<br />

St. Paul was among the first to set pen to paper to<br />

proclaim the Gospel. He took the heritage of Israel and<br />

renewed its language for the New Covenant. Paul gave<br />

the Church the vocabulary it would use to understand the<br />

life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.<br />

We have him to thank for so much of what we call the<br />

Church. It’s not that he was the “founder” of Christianity,<br />

as some people claim. But he did play a unique role in the<br />

early proclamation of the Gospel.<br />

His name from birth was Saul. He was a Pharisee, and<br />

so he worked to hasten the day of the Messiah’s coming.<br />

He went so far as to enforce the strictest fidelity to the Law<br />

of Moses, believing that this would bring about the Day<br />

of the Lord. It was for this reason that he persecuted the<br />

Christians (see Philippians 3:5–6). He thought they were<br />

abandoning the God of their ancestors in order to worship<br />

a man.<br />

Then Saul met Jesus. The encounter was dramatic (see<br />

Acts 22). Saul recognized that Israel’s expectations had<br />

already been fulfilled and the Messiah had come.<br />

There was no need for him to abandon the religion of the<br />

Old Covenant. Rather, he saw the signs and proclaimed<br />

the Day of the Lord, no longer in anticipation, but now in<br />

fulfillment.<br />

This came at no small cost. He had to endure afflictions<br />

and hardships — beatings, floggings, stoning, imprisonment,<br />

shipwreck, hunger (see 2 Corinthians 11:23–28).<br />

He traveled the world to announce a Church that was<br />

universal, intended for Israel and the nations together. He<br />

began to use the name Paul.<br />

Of all the apostles, it was St. Paul<br />

“Apostle Paul,” by Jan<br />

Lievens, 1607-1674, Dutch.<br />


who most consistently kept the<br />

Church from receding back to the<br />

safety of a provincial reservation. It<br />

was St. Paul who kept the universal,<br />

Catholic vision. It was St. Paul who<br />

proclaimed the power of the sacraments<br />

of the New Covenant. It was<br />

St. Paul who, together with St. Peter, consecrated Rome<br />

with his own blood, shed in martyrdom.<br />

Even today, St. Paul’s letters convey urgency. We catch<br />

on to his excitement, but we can also be frustrated. He<br />

rarely takes time to spell things out, and he assumes that<br />

we already know a lot about the Bible. Even St. Peter confessed<br />

that he found St. Paul’s letters “hard to understand”<br />

(2 Peter 3:15).<br />

When we read St. Paul, we sometimes feel we’re being<br />

propelled forward by a hurricane or some other force of<br />

nature. But it’s even stronger than that, because it’s a force<br />

of grace.<br />

Look at those maps of his journeys. Then remind yourself<br />

that the momentum has not diminished. God’s arm has<br />

not been shortened. When you read the Pauline letters,<br />

you’re exposing yourself to the same force. Brace yourself.<br />

32 • ANGELUS • <strong>July</strong> 2, <strong>2021</strong>


“Walking with Jesus in Difficult Times” SCRC virtual event. Available to view online 24/7 for free. Event<br />

includes teachings by Father Bill Delaney, SJ, Sister Regina Marie Gorman, OCD, and Patti Mansfield, with a<br />

special video tribute to the late Father John H. Hampsch, CMF. Register for free at events.scrc.org.<br />

■ FRIDAY, JUNE 25<br />

St. Anthony High School End of Year Centennial<br />

Celebration. 620 Olive Ave., Long Beach, 3-6:30 p.m.<br />

Centennial celebration begins with 3 p.m. Mass and<br />

includes speeches from Mayor Garcia and Senator<br />

Gonzalez. St. Anthony President Gina Maguire will be<br />

honored for 20 years of service, and Archbishop José H.<br />

Gomez will bless the school’s courtyard and statues. For<br />

more information, visit www.longbeachsaints.org.<br />

■ SATURDAY, JUNE 26<br />

Drive-Thru Food Distribution Event. St. Barnabas Church,<br />

3955 Orange Ave., Long Beach, 10 a.m.-12 p.m. Sponsored<br />

by the LA County Sheriff’s Community Advisory Council.<br />

For more information, call Peter Ramirez at 2<strong>13</strong>-440-2707.<br />

Torrance Knights of Columbus Spaghetti Dinner. Nativity<br />

Church Annex, 1415 Engracia Ave., Torrance, 5-7 p.m.<br />

Indoor dinner includes spaghetti, meatballs, salad, garlic<br />

bread, punch, coffee, tea, and dessert. Masks required for<br />

unvaccinated people. Cost: $8/adults, $7/seniors. Cash,<br />

check, and credit cards accepted. Proceeds support the<br />

Knights’ charitable causes.<br />

■ TUESDAY, JULY 6<br />

LA Council of Catholic Women Rosary Conference<br />

Call. 8 p.m. Call 1-424-436-6200, code 410510#. Prayer<br />

requests open. Rosary takes place every Tuesday and<br />

Thursday in June and <strong>July</strong>. For more information, call Carol<br />

Westlake at 661-263-0435.<br />

■ FRIDAY, JULY 9<br />

Retrouvaille: A Lifeline for Married Couples. Weekend<br />

program runs <strong>July</strong> 9-11 in Los Angeles. Retrouvaille is an<br />

effective Catholic Christian ministry that helps married<br />

couples. The program offers the chance to rediscover<br />

yourself, your spouse, and the love in your marriage.<br />

Married couples of any faith are welcome. For more<br />

information, visit https://www.losangelesretrouvaille.com<br />

or call 909-900-5465.<br />

■ SATURDAY, JULY 10<br />

Little Sisters of the Poor Rummage Sale. 2100 S. Western<br />

Ave., San Pedro, 7 a.m.-3 p.m. Call 310-548-0625 for more<br />

information. All proceeds benefit the Little Sisters of the<br />

Poor.<br />

St. Vincent de Paul Church Vigil Night. 621 W. Adams<br />

Blvd., Los Angeles, from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m., <strong>July</strong> 11. Vigil<br />

Night will have live music, rosary, prayer, and Holy Hour,<br />

and concludes with 8 a.m. Mass inside the building, the<br />

first Mass celebrated inside since the beginning of the<br />

pandemic. For more information, contact Silvia Macias at<br />

svdpsmacias@gmail.com.<br />

■ TUESDAY, JULY <strong>13</strong><br />

Catholic Cemeteries and Mortuaries Memorial Mass.<br />

San Fernando Mission Rey de España, 11 a.m. Mass will be<br />

livestreamed on LA Catholics social media channels and<br />

will not be open to the public.<br />

■ SUNDAY, JULY 18<br />

“Pueblo Amante de Maria” Virtual Procession, Rosary,<br />

and Tagalog Mass. Incarnation Church of Glendale<br />

will host a virtual procession and rosary at 1:15 p.m. to<br />

celebrate 500 years of Christianity in the Philippines.<br />

Tagalog Mass to follow. To join on livestream, visit the<br />

Incarnation Church Facebook page. For details, call 818-<br />

242-2579.<br />

Vox Vitae California Pro-Life Leadership Summer<br />

Camp. Santiago Retreat Center, 27912 Baker Canyon Rd.,<br />

Silverado. Day camp for teens ages 14-19 runs <strong>July</strong> 18-23.<br />

Vox Vitae campers explore the truth of Catholicism, the<br />

destruction of abortion and euthanasia, the beauty of<br />

chastity and holiness, and more. Campers also practice<br />

defending their faith and pro-life views. Speakers include<br />

Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone and Bishop Joseph<br />

Strickland, and other leading Catholic pro-life voices. Cost:<br />

$200/camper, scholarships available. $100/family for<br />

online camp option. For more information or to register,<br />

visit voxvitae.com.<br />

■ MONDAY, JULY 19<br />

St. Michael’s Abbey Summer Camp. St. Michael’s Abbey<br />

Summer Camp. A Catholic camp for boys 7-14 in Orange<br />

County. Experience great summer activities like hiking,<br />

sports, campfires, etc., and learn more about the faith.<br />

Camp runs <strong>July</strong> 19-24, <strong>July</strong> 26-31, August 2-7, or August<br />

9-14. Visit stmichaelsabbey.com/summer-camp or email<br />

SummerCamp@StMichaelsAbbey.com.<br />

■ SUNDAY, AUGUST 1<br />

Eight-Day Silent, Directed Retreat: Jesus is Our Hope.<br />

Mary & Joseph Retreat Center, 5300 Crest Road, Rancho<br />

Palos Verdes. Retreat runs from Aug. 1, 6 p.m. to Aug.<br />

8, 1:30 p.m. Led by spiritual directors Sister Pascazia<br />

Kinkuhaire, DMJ, Father Joseph Miller, SVD, and Sue<br />

Ballotti, the retreat is based on the spiritual exercises of St.<br />

Ignatius. Cost: $820/person, single rooms only. Limited<br />

to 14 guests; register by <strong>July</strong> 9. For more information or to<br />

RSVP, call Jose Salas at 310-377-4867, ext. 250.<br />


<strong>2021</strong> C3 Conference. Hosted by the Catholic<br />

Communication Collaboration, the 10th annual C3<br />

Conference will be free and virtual Aug. 3-6. Register at<br />

https://c3.leadlms.com/register. Contact April Zavala at<br />

C3Con@la-archdiocese.org with questions.<br />

■ TUESDAY, AUGUST 10<br />

Catholic Cemeteries and Mortuaries Memorial Mass.<br />

11 a.m. Mass will be livestreamed on LA Catholics social<br />

media channels and will not be open to the public.<br />


Catholic Bible Institute: New Testament Year Bible<br />

Study. 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Zoom Bible study from CBI meets Aug.<br />

21 and 28, Sept. 11, Oct. 9, <strong>No</strong>v. <strong>13</strong>, Dec. 4, Jan. 15, Feb.<br />

12, March 12, April 9, May 14, and June 18. Cost: $380/<br />

year, course covers three years. Register before Aug. 21 for<br />

only $300. Participants can earn LMU Extension Semester<br />

Hours in the Certification Track. New participants can<br />

join in August of any year, starting with either the Old<br />

Testament or New Testament. For more information,<br />

contact cbi@la-archdiocese.org or Alex Moreno at<br />

JAMoreno@la-archdiocese.org.<br />

Items for the calendar of events are due four weeks prior to the date of the event. They may be emailed to calendar@angelusnews.com.<br />

All calendar items must include the name, date, time, address of the event, and a phone number for additional information.<br />

<strong>July</strong> 2, <strong>2021</strong> • ANGELUS • 33

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