Monday, July 16, 2007

The Mahony Aftermath...

Last Friday evening I received a phone call from the Archiocese of Los Angeles. I should preface this by stating that in the 13 years since I've lived within its boundaries, I can count the fingers on one hand (with fingers to spare) the number of times I've received any type of phone call from the L.A. Archdiocese.

They were thanking me for last year's donation (now, there are many different types of programs that can be donated to, but the lady didn't specify exactly which program she was thankful for which I had donated), and wanted to know if I would be willing to donate again this year... say... maybe... possibly... $100 or more. I politely told the her that any donations that I give to the church will be done via my local parish (whether it is for my parish specifically, or for the diocese at large), as I have always done.

The next morning, guess what story was headlining the news?

I have a suggestion for Cardinal Mahony as to how he can get that remaining $250 million which the Archdiocese owes for those settlements (from a grand total of $720 million for 553 cases). There is that $189 million monstrosity called the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels.

He can remove and save the John Nava tapestries, the beautiful yet unused Spanish retablo, and the stained glass windows which were from the original St. Vibiana Cathedral (which was damaged beyond repair after the '94 Northridge earthquake) and are now placed in the basement mausoleum. Everything else, including the building, can be sold (given the current real estate market) for at least triple its original value. Or, he could even lease it out to several museums (LACMA, MOCA, Getty). Said lease payments over a 10-15 year period could generate enough money to cover the settlement expenses.

Oh... and one more thing. He could do the honorable thing and tender his resignation, effective immediately.

P.S. Of the approx. 10-12 diocese within the U.S. that have been severely affected by this scandal (as to the number of cases, as well as financially), why haven't we heard of any such problems from the San Francisco diocese? Is it really possible that that diocese is scandal-free? Not making any accusations. Just a little food for thought.

UPDATE: Gerald, over at Closed Cafeteria, has an excellent rundown on the details of the entire U.S. scandal. It puts everything into proper perspective.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Ira Meyer - Photography

Last week, on the Fourth of July, I went downtown to the annual Independence Day festivities in my hometown. Main Street was blocked off for entertainment and various types of vendors. And I happened to bump into an old acquaintance of mine, Ira Meyer, whom I hadn't seen in a few years. He's a professional photographer, and he had his booth set up for displaying and selling his photographic prints.

His work is strikingly beautiful, and has even graced the pages of National Geographic (the Ponderosa Pines in the Mist pic). The vast majority of his work is of nature and scenic vistas, but that basic description doesn't do his art justice.

Here's a link to one of his recent prints from his travels to Antarctica. The brilliance of the translucent blue ice is breathtaking. Here's another link to Argentine Patagonia. Or, how about some wildlife. Or, a portraiture from India. I ended up buying one of his Antarctica prints (not shown on his web site) for myself - it's of a shimmering blue iceberg, back lit by the unseen rising sun, against a dark sea and charcoal sky.

I highly recommend purchasing a copy of his coffee table book, "Suddenly the Sun Emerged". It is well worth the modest $19.95.