Via Media

An odd, moving little piece in the NYTimes about the archivist for Princeton’s class of ’33

Now, still remarkably hale at 91, though his snow-white hair is feather-fine and his skin nearly translucent, with few responsibilities other than helping care for his wife, Ann, who broke her hip in May, Dr. Billings said that keeping track of the class gave his life shape.

“If I didn’t have this,” he said, “I’d be sort of roaming around looking for things to do.” As it is, he cannot refrain from writing to Princeton’s football coach after every game.

Priests fault Egan for his treatment of accused clerics

In a rare challenge, 74 priests of the Archdiocese of New York indirectly assailed Cardinal Edward M. Egan for failing to support their brother priests accused of sexual abuse, and called for a face-to-face meeting.

“We need to tell you again what you already know; the morale of the New York presbyterate is at an all-time low,” the priests said in a petition to the cardinal. The reason, they said, is that the propositions of church law and Pope John Paul II’s teachings on a bishop’s care of his priests “have not been done.”

Accused priest gets support

Msgr. Charles M. Kavanagh may be facing banishment from the priesthood over a sexual abuse allegation. But if he goes, it will not be quietly.

Yesterday, he bathed in a sea of love from nearly 300 friends, former parishioners and family members who came to a banquet hall in the Bronx to celebrate the 40th anniversary of his ordination.

Okay, here’s what happened.

I was driving around, cautiously because it was snowing and I had Mr. Precious Cargo about to begin his mantra of “I want somepin'” in the back seat. I was listening to Day by Day, which is (take a breath), Slate Magazine’s presence on NPR. It airs at noon around these parts.

So, I was listening, and this essayist starts reading an essay. It was one of those “I’m noble and probably better than you because I hate Christmas” kind of things. Guy can’t find joy in the season, he’s too busy contemplating his mortality as the solstice nears. Wife and kids aren’t deterred, especially young son who finds an old music box that plays Nutcracker music and follows dad around the house with it, even to the bedroom where he awakens him with a “Mewwy Chwistmas, Daddy”. Dad almost says it back – but holds strong. Whew.

I was listening and hating it, not because the guy hates Christmas, but because he thinks I should care. Arrogant, I’m thinking. Get the heck over yourself.

So I’m mentally dissecting this, when the announcer returns, and in dulcet NPR-ese announces the essayist’s name.


I literally shrieked right there on S. Clinton Street and Rudisill.

He’s adjusted his name a bit – extending his first name, and adding another last name, and I wouldn’t have had a clue who he was but for the fact that he was featured in a piece in the back home diocesan newspaper about a month ago, being in town for a book signing (he writes mystery novels). I remember him as a very affable guy, a year behind me, who was in some activity I was in – maybe Model UN, or something.

Small world, sort of. Odd moment. Still didn’t like the piece, though.