I remember in the early days of this blog, a reader described us as posting "eleventy-billion words" a day. Not lately, as you've noticed. Fr. Mike is on that relentless Lenten road and I'm creating.
Yesterday, I finished up the slides and hand-outs for the Lessons from St. Paul conference in Detroit on March 21. By the way, if any ID readers are going to be there, please come up and say "Hi".
The emphasis at this conference is on the word "practical" and they didn't want people droning on so they asked that speakers limit themselves to 30 minutes and leave the rest of the time for questions and answers. When I heard that, i despaired. Since I was supposed to cover St. Paul, post-modernism, and evangelization skills that usually take four days to wrestle with.
It was simply impossible. I wrote back saying i couldn't cover the assigned topic in 30 minutes and would be willing to do something else. The conference powers that be were clement and gave me 50 minutes.
So I spent a lot of the weekend paring relentlessly away (I eventually jettisoned more than half of our usual content for this section) and timing trial runs, and after much agony, finally coming up with version that clocked in at 53 minutes. Close enough.
I'm going to be doing something similar this fall at the Cathedral of St. Paul on October 3. I've flown in and out of Minneapolis hundreds of times but have never left the airport before. The Cathedral looks magnificent.
I'm a bit intimidated because it is for the First Saturday series which was created this year for the Pauline year and was such a hit that they are extending it. This year's line-up featured the like of Jeff Cavins, Dr. Janet Smith, and Dr. Peter Kreeft. We speak in front of the exposed Blessed Sacrament and I've never done that before and all my former Quaker anxieties about not knowing what to do in intricate liturgical settings come to the fore.
I'm sure it will be fine in the end. I've never actually fainted during a speaking gig. My knees have buckled a couple times but I've never gone down. My secret is promising myself that I can always faint afterwards! Always put off today what you can do tomorrow, I say!
Meanwhile, my days at home are rapidly drawing to an end.
Here's a tidbit from a document released awhile back by the U.S. Bishops that you may find interesting in light of the economic woes we are facing these days.
[regarding the evil of] excessive gains by a small minority of privileged capitalists, the main remedies are prevention of monopolistic control of commodities, adequate government regulation of such public service monopolies as will remain under private operation, and heavy taxation of incomes, excess profits, and inheritances....[T]he principle is clear that human beings cannot be trusted with the immense opportunities for oppression and extortion that go with the possession of monopoly power. That the owners of public service monopolies should be restricted by law to a fair or average return on their actual investment, has long been a recognized principle of the courts, the legislatures, and public opinion. It is a principle which should be applied to competitive enterprises likewise, with the qualification that something more than the average rate of return should be allowed to men who exhibit exceptional efficiency. However, good public policy, as well as equity, demands that these exceptional businessmen share the fruits of their efficiency with the consumer in the form of lower prices. The man who utilizes his ability to produce cheaper than his competitors for the purpose of exacting from the public as high a price for his product as is necessary for the least efficient businessman is a menace rather than a benefit to industry and society.
Our immense war debt constitutes a particular reason why incomes and excess profits should continue to be heavily taxed. In this way two important ends will be attained: the poor will be relieved of injurious tax burdens, and the small class of privileged capitalists will be compelled to return a part of their unearned gains to society.
Before you get in a lather and write your local bishop, I should note that these radical bishops are all dead. They lived in 1919, when the above was promulgated by the forerunner of the USCCB in a document titled, The U.S. Bishops' Program of Social Reconstruction.