Saturday, December 21, 2013

12 Years a Slave.

Prior to my reading Washington Post opinion writer, Richard Cohen's take on Steve McQueen’s movie 12 Years a Slave , I had never heard of Solomon Northup or his 1853 memoir of the same name. Surprising, since I had read books by Harriet Beecher Stowe and Frederick Douglass which deal with the same subject matter; slavery in America.

Being familiar with The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass and Uncle Tom's Cabin I suppose that, unlike Cohen, I had been ".........shockingly confronted by the sheer barbarity of American slavery" before reading Northrup's book. Unlike Cohen, I knew that Margaret Mitchell's  Gone With the Wind  was not an accurate portrayal of antebellum life in the South.

I've just finished reading Northrup's memoir; I haven't seen the movie, but I'm looking forward to doing so. If the movie is faithful to the book - which I suspect it is - it will be well worth one's time and money.

There are a number of unanswered questions which Northrup could not address. We know nothing of the fate of Northrup's slave companions following his release. Obviously, Northrup could not write on what he did not know. We'll never know the fate of these poor souls because Northrup himself could never know. We can hope that many of them lived to see the end of slavery, but the book was written a dozen years before slavery was finally abolished in the United States with the passing of the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution in 1865.

It would have been a splendid turn of events had Northrup's kidnappers received there just rewards. The book makes it clear that they went unpunished in this life time. Fortunately, no one escapes justice in the life to come.

Saturday, December 14, 2013


Trying to survive a rather nasty cold, I'm going to do as little as possible this weekend. Mostly rest and a bit of reading. I'm currently reading 3 books, which I hope to finish reading before the month is out.

The three are:
1) Write Away, by Elizabeth George.
2) Twelve Years a Slave, by Solomon Northup.
3) Defending The Free Market , by Fr. Robert Sirico.

Perhaps, I'd finish the books I read faster if I read just one at a time.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Homeless Jesus in the News Again.

Last April, I posted an article about Canadian sculpture Timothy Schmalz's statue Homeless Jesus. [Statue Provides Opportunity for Catholic-Bashing.] There was a mini-controversy surrounding the statue at the time. There were a number of reports that Schmalz had attempted to give the statue to two prominent Catholic churches, St. Michael’s Cathedral in Toronto and St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York, only to have his statue rejected by the two cathedrals.

Liberal blogs & news sources had a field day bashing the Catholic Church with stories how Homeless Jesus had no home.

The truth was, St. Patrick's had to refuse the statue, not because the work too controversial, but because the Cathedral was undergoing extensive restorations at the time.

The Toronto archdiocese had even tried to help Schmalz find an alternative location, eventually finding a home at Regis College at the University of Toronto.

Fast forward to November, when it was reported that the statue was presented to Pope Francis. An article written in December reports that the statue was blessed by Pope Francis and returned to it's home at Church of Saint Stephen-in-the-Fields, in Toronto.
Now, the Christian Post is reporting that, after its trip to the Vatican, the statue was stolen.

Not being willing to leave the story there, I went to the Church of Saint Stephen-in-the-Fields website. I was surprised to discover that the church is not a Catholic church, but Anglican. The church's pastor is a female priest, no less. I was a bit confused as to why an Anglican church would want their statue blessed by the Pope. Wouldn't it have been more appropriate to have it blessed by the Archbishop of Canterbury?

Looking further into the website, I come across the church's report on the the theft of the statue. As it turns out, their statue was not the Homeless Jesus  statue blessed by Pope Francis, but an entirely different one called Jesus the Panhandler .

Not quite certain what to make of all this. Perhaps it's just another case of poor Internet news reporting.