Golf, BC and Bruins

Three things: First, the golf.

In the end, the very likeable “Lefty,” with a huge assist from his family, left Augusta awash in tears and charmed the nation. But it was a mighty strange week of sport amidst all the towering melodrama and it abounded in irony to the very end.

Midway through the final round of the 2010 Masters, ESPN was running an internet poll asking the great unwashed public to indicate its preference for champion. Astoundingly, 55 percent of the respondents were choosing Tiger Woods, with 33 percent voting for the pet of the “anti-Tiger” block, Phil Mickelson, while the remaining 12 percent were opting for the third alternative, which was named “someone else,’’ otherwise known as “anyone else.” Please, on bended knee!

Granted that it’s ESPN’s sworn objective to trivialize every sporting issue it can gets its mitts upon. Nonetheless this ad hoc survey -- though of perhaps dubious scientific merit -- was not an entirely irrelevant index of public opinion on the transcendental question of how much majesty Mr. Woods has lost with his epic philandering, compounded by his notably limp efforts at atoning for his debauchery.

ESPN’s national sample -- at that given moment -- was 116,805, which is fairly hefty considering that it was a lovely Sunday in Spring, blissful and balmy most everywhere, and people presumably had better things to do than sit around responding to some dumb poll about some decadent golfer. But this is America, after all, where jock parables are readily embraced for their deeper meaning even when there is none and with the Masters being the solemn high mass of the sporting events. Moreover, no Biblical tale charms the masses more readily than the weepy saga of the prodigal son.

Back at Augusta, the Tiger was mounting his inevitable charge. The stage seemed set. You pictured 55 percent of America doing cartwheels as he eagled the seventh and then again, the fifteenth. But the Lefty declined to buckle and methinks we should be mighty thankful for that.

Yearning for Woods to lose was hardly fun. Cheering for his comeuppance was becoming tiresome. Schadenfreude is never pretty even when it’s entirely justified. We should be especially grateful to Phil Mickelson for sparing us all that, for getting us off the hook as it were.

For in the end, it was not so much a matter of the Tiger losing as it was of the Lefty winning. And having him win as he did with such memorable elan and genuine inspiration was simply grand. It was good for him. It was good for his game. It was maybe even what was best for Tiger, who hardly needed the twisted debate that would have surely ensued had he beaten the likeable Lefty with the gallant family and the flawless resume who is fast becoming rather beloved. For it would have invited invidious comparisons that Woods didn’t need. Tiger’s redemption -- at least on the golf course -- is utterly inevitable. We just didn’t need it this week. And neither, I suspect, did he.

For all of that we can deeply thank Phil and Amy Mickelson. And then we can move on.

“Page two,” if you will; as the man used to say.

In the wake of his third NCAA championship -- his second in a mere three years -- it is worth wondering if Jerry York, coach of the exemplary Boston College hockey team, may be the best coach of anything in the entire country. What’s beyond dispute is that with surpassing art, class, insight and wisdom, Jerry York sets the highest possible standard for the scholar-athlete engaged in the rightful pursuit of academic excellence through the discipline of sport. And that is some achievement, mate.

Coincidentally, even as York’s splendid hockey team was rolling through the Frozen Four, BC was also celebrating the landing of a new and esteemed basketball coach, Steve Donahue, ex of Cornell no less. Donahue was something of a prize given his stunning achievements in the Ivy League where the priorities of amateur athletics are rarely in doubt.

That is not the case at too many other academic groves where basketball programs have been a source of scandal. Boston College surely knows all about that. The annals of their basketball grief extend back more than 30 years. In theory, Donahue seems a brilliant response, much overdue. Many schools yearning to bring some luster to their tainted programs were lusting after this fellow.

But if the BC athletic director can take bows for landing Donahue might he also explain why the former basketball coach, who is now being so widely discredited, was paid over $2.2 million for coaching the team last season. If he was as flawed as he is now being portrayed why did BC grace him with a contract that paid him roughly five times as much as Marquette, Northern Iowa, and Butler (to name but three schools that had rather better seasons) were paying their coach? Even more to the point, since when did the Jesuit educational concept of “ratio studiorum” embrace such egregious excess? Do any of these questions ever get asked at BC? Or can the AD simply do no wrong?

Old Eagles will protest such impertinent comment. They always do. But outsiders will continue to wonder. In the meantime, you only hope the magnificence of Jerry York’s achievements are properly appreciated at the Heights. In all of his years he has brought only distinction to his school and done it with an uncommon dignity. If the new basketball coach seeks an exemplar he need only look across the hall to his new colleague.

“Page three”

It’s Stanley Cup time! And admittedly that’s not quite the clarion call it once was.

There’s some luck opening with the Sabres, whom these Bruins could beat, if they were healthy. But they aren’t. Nor is it likely Buffalo’s snappy goalie, Ryan Miller, the toast of North America two months ago, will fail to come up very big. It may be his year.

But it’s the injuries on defense that will bring down the Bruins. Their four best defensemen are either MIA or damaged goods. The severed wrist tendon of the new boy, Dennis Seidenberg, was ruinous. Also down are Mark Stuart, a much improved kid, and Andrew Ference, who is always hurt. Then there’s the matter of Zdeno Chara, who is of course indispensable.

The Big man will play, even if he’s not at his best. He was back on the ice within minutes after having his face re-arranged and his nose broken in an unpleasant encounter with the high stick of the notably nasty Washington Capital Alexander Semin, whose surgical brilliance with his sharpened blade is firmly established.

Whining about officiating is tedious as well as the last recourse of chronic losers. Still, the unevenness of the officiating in the NHL this season has been galling; much as it was in the baseball post-season last fall, and much as it’s always been in the NBA, etc., ad nauseam.

In their dubious wisdom, NHL poobahs have cluttered the ice with four officials when for a century they got along much better with three. There are now two Referees equally empowered to call penalties. In the Semin/Chara matter, the huge Boston defenseman was battling for the puck. Thus one of the Refs had to have his eye on the action centered around the puck unless, of course, he was counting the house or winking at some damsel in the third row. Chara is so tall Demin’s stick had to reach the rafters to clip the Big Guy in the face. Any stick to the face is an automatic penalty, upwards to five minutes.

But none was called even as Chara limped off leaving a trail of blood. It was a game the Bruins, desperate to win, lost in overtime. The non-call conceivably could have cost them a playoff berth. How does it come to this again and again? You hope the playoffs, however long or short, don’t turn on something so dumb. But don’t bet against it.

Canadian cardinal: Women should help screen, train priest applicants

Poznan, Poland, Sep 18, 2018 CNA.- Increasing the role of women in screening and training priests is among the steps that should be taken to prevent future ...

Vatican delegation will travel to China this month to finalize agreement, Chinese newspaper reports

Beijing, China, Sep 18, 2018 CNA.- A newspaper tied to the Chinese Communist Party reported Tuesday that a delegation of Vatican officials will head to ...

Cardinal Marx says mistakes were made, calls for change in German church

Cardinal Reinhard Marx, head of the German bishops' conference, admitted that mistakes were made in the German church's handling of sex abuse of minors ...

Church crisis response: Healing Masses, listening sessions, fasting

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- In response to the sexual abuse crisis in the church, Catholics are praying for victims, talking about their frustration and anger, ...

Pope names Minnesota priest as auxiliary bishop of Hartford

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Pope Francis has appointed Father Juan M. Betancourt, a priest in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, as auxiliary bishop ...

Listening church: Pope gives new vision for Synod of Bishops

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Synod of Bishops increasingly should be a structure for listening to the Catholic faithful, demonstrating a local bishop's concern ...

Director of Courage releases letter on Penn. abuse report

Washington D.C., Sep 17, 2018 CNA.- Courage International, an apostolate to support people with same sex-attraction in leading chaste lives, has issued ...

Richmond bishop apologizes to victims; commits to opening, reviewing files

RICHMOND, Va. (CNS) -- In celebrating the Diocese of Richmond's first Mass of Atonement for victims of abuse Sept. 14, Bishop Barry C. Knestout apologized ...

Stanford University to remove saint's name from some properties

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- California's Stanford University will strip the name of 18th-century Franciscan friar, St. Junipero Serra, from some of its properties ...

Catholic Charities distributes disaster relief to areas hit by Florence

RALEIGH, N.C. (CNS) -- The Carolinas were hard hit with record rainfall and flooding rivers from tropical storm Florence since it made landfall Sept. ...

Archbishop Lori assures diocese he's with them in journey toward healing

WHEELING, W.Va. (CNS) -- In his celebration of Mass at the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Wheeling Sept. 15, Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore said ...

Bishop takes a (sky) dive to get pilgrims to Lourdes

HOVE, England (CNS) -- "The Moth has landed," tweeted the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton. The tweet Sept. 14 and a similar post on the diocesan Facebook ...

Words, promises are not enough to prevent abuse, archbishop says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Inviting presidents of the world's bishops' conference to the Vatican to discuss abuse prevention reflects an understanding that ...

Pope praises Capuchin order's charism of authenticity, simplicity

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Capuchins are called to be men of peace, reconciliation and prayer and to be close to all people, Pope Francis told members of the ...

Path to healing starts with seeking forgiveness, Cardinal Wuerl says

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- A "Season of Healing" for sexual abuse survivors began in the Archdiocese of Washington with a Sept. 14 Mass at the Cathedral of St. ...

Archbishop McCarrick's unofficial role in Vatican-China relations

Vatican City, Sep 17, 2018 CNA.- Following reports that the Holy See and the People’s Republic of China could be about to sign an agreement ...

Archbishop Chaput: When we forget faith, we forget our humanity

Spokane, Wash., Sep 14, 2018 CNA.- When man tries to cling to reason and separate himself from faith, he forgets who he is and loses his source of hope, ...

Pope Francis warns priests against living a double life

Palermo, Italy, Sep 15, 2018 CNA/EWTN News.- During a day trip to Sicily Saturday, Pope Francis told priests and religious to fight their vices and strive ...

What is the pontifical secret?

Vatican City, Sep 14, 2018 CNA.- Following the allegations made by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò about the case of Archbishop Theodore McCarrick, ...

Vatican publishes list of synod participants, including papal nominees

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- To the list of members of the Synod of Bishops elected by national bishops' conferences, Pope Francis added cardinals from 14 countries, ...

Addicts and their loved ones talk about life with opioid addiction

ARLINGTON, Va. (CNS) -- It was a Saturday night, and Billy was eating pizza and watching a sporting event in the basement bedroom of his residence, a ...

Signers of letter hope Vatican meeting will bring needed steps on crisis

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Signers of an open letter from Catholic women to Pope Francis urging "truth" and "transparency" on the growing sex abuse crisis expressed ...

Community 'overwhelmed and shell-shocked' after gas explosions, says pastor

LAWRENCE -- Volunteers at St. Patrick Church's Cor Unum Meal Center were serving dinner when multiple natural gas explosions and fires broke out in homes ...

Down to earth: Vatican brings together world's meteorite curators

CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy (CNS) -- Rocks, mineral debris and even dust from space are kept in special collections, museums and laboratories all over the ...

Algerian martyrs to be beatified in Algeria Dec. 8

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The beatification of 19 martyrs of Algeria, including the seven Trappist monks of Tibhirine, will be celebrated Dec. 8 in Oran, ...

'Anything but a picnic' - Cardinal Dolan on the Church's summer of scandal

New York City, N.Y., Sep 14, 2018 CNA.- Cardinal Timothy Dolan has spoken about how the extended sexual abuse scandals facing the Church have taken a ...

Restoring and reimagining: Transformation at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross

BOSTON -- Considered by many to be the heart of the Archdiocese of Boston, the Cathedral of the Holy Cross is the largest Catholic church in New England, ...

Archdiocese says Cardinal O'Malley will personally review all abuse letters

BRAINTREE (CAN) -- The Archdiocese of Boston has announced changes to the way it will process and respond to letters addressed to Cardinal Séan P. ...

CM receives $2.5M grant from Yawkey Foundations

West Roxbury -- Catholic Memorial, a college-preparatory school for boys in grades 7 to 12, announced Sept. 5 that they have received a $2.5 million grant ...

Father Christian Ohazulume removed from ministry

BRAINTREE -- The Archdiocese announced on Sept. 11 that it had removed a priest from ministry after receiving an allegation that he sexually abused a ...

From Cardinal Seán's blog

This week I am in transit to Rome in anticipation of the next meeting of the C9 Council of Cardinals. So, I have asked Vivian Soper to share some reflections ...

Kavanaugh's birth control comments spur controversy -- What did he say?

Washington D.C. (CNA) -- Opponents of Judge Brett Kavanaugh have suggested that a reference to birth control pills as "abortion-inducing drugs" during ...

Missouri to enforce abortion regulations in wake of appeals court ruling

Jefferson City, Mo. (CNA) -- Missouri's health department announced Monday that it will immediately being enforcing state laws regulating abortion clinics ...

Book tells about behind-the-scenes search for St. Peter's bones

HOUSTON (CNS) -- Two Houston men shared a journey through centuries of history and a decades-long archaeological dig under the Vatican to unveil a story ...

Update way priests are chosen, accompanied, pope tells new bishops

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The best way to help the Catholic Church, Pope Francis told new bishops, is not by pointing fingers and creating scapegoats, but ...

Vatican confirms ongoing Sistine Chapel Choir finance inquiry

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Vatican confirmed an ongoing investigation into financial irregularities involving the directors of the Sistine Chapel Choir. ...

After meeting pope, cardinal says he's hopeful about addressing crisis

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston struck a determinedly hopeful tone after his long-awaited meeting with Pope Francis ...

DA clears Indiana bishop of misconduct, says claim has harmed prelate

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (CNS) -- The Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend welcomed findings by a Pennsylvania district attorney that cleared Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades ...

Cardinal DiNardo calls meeting with pope lengthy, fruitful

Vatican City, Sep 13, 2018 CNA/EWTN News.- Cardinal Daniel DiNardo has called a Sept. 13 meeting between Pope Francis and leaders from the Church in United ...

What do Church abuse policies mean by 'vulnerable adult?'

Denver, Colo., Sep 12, 2018 CNA.- A Vatican summit this February will gather the presidents of bishops’ conferences from around the world. While ...

'Elitist, clericalist' church allows abuse to thrive, pope says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Sexual and physical abuse by priests and religious and the scandal of its cover-up by church authorities thrive in countries where ...

Cardinal Wuerl to ask pope to accept his resignation

Washington D.C., Sep 12, 2018 CNA.- An archdiocesan spokesman has confirmed that Cardinal Donald Wuerl will soon ask Pope Francis to accept his resignation ...

Pope accepts resignation of West Virginia bishop as inquiry into abuse claims launched

Vatican City, Sep 13, 2018 CNA/EWTN News.- Pope Francis Thursday accepted the resignation of Bishop Michael J. Bransfield from the pastoral government ...