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Panegyrics 'R Us

It's well known that the Boston Globe, owned by the paper in the other city, is in serious financial straits. Should the Globe go under, there are certain columnists I will not miss (James Carroll, anyone?). But I shall very much miss Alex Beam whose dry humor enlivens the morning and goes quite nicely really with toast and English marmalade.As this morning:

Will you be my patron?


Perhaps you have read about the economic turbulence jostling journalism. For the past 16 years, my patrons have been the shareholders of the New York Times Co., of whom I am one. But from the looks of it, they/I don't plan to extend their patronage forever. Next month, my patronage package will probably decrease 10 percent, reflecting an unhealthy trend throughout the newspaper industry.

Which is where you come in.I want a patron, a fabulously wealthy rich man or woman, to subsidize my writing career for the next five years. In olden days, Greek poets produced fulsome odes, called panegyrics, celebrating the virtues of the men and occasionally women who paid their expenses. For example: "Great is thy wisdom and the bounty of thy loins, [YOUR NAME HERE]."That's my new motto: Panegyrics 'R Us!

Enjoy the rest.

About the Author

Rev. Robert P. Imbelli, a priest of the Archdiocese of New York, is Associate Professor of Theology Emeritus at Boston College.



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An awful lot of us would miss James Carroll, who is the most famous thing about the Boston Globe. To quote Conrad, Carroll is "one of us" (Catholics in the spirit of Vatican II). I agree with his harsh judgment of Benedict XVI as quoted in the following:

Joseph,Why am I not surprised? -- "in the spirit of Vatican II," of course!

Well, Carroll may not be appreciated in Boston -- "the foot of the lighthouse is dark" as we say in Japan. Carroll is "one of us" not only because he has the spirit of Vatican II, but because he has a strong sense of human values. Here is one of his recent remarks: "Torture dominated the national debate for much of the early spring, as US citizens finally reckoned with the grotesque betrayals of decency that had been enacted in their name. That a threshold into gross lawlessness had been crossed was not disputed, although limits on accountability were. There were no indictments for the torturers, much less the authorizers (unless from Spain), and no real challenge to the complicit citizenry of bystander nation. Through all of these momentous developments, Republicans conducted themselves as if in self-parody, signaling the effective death of two-party politics - which may be the largest change of all."

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