Starting from where we left off...

In the age of modern sport with its daily torrent of mindless give and take a couple of weeks on the beach can leave you fairly buried even if too much of what comes and goes is ragtime. Some artful catching-up is hence obliged.

The NHL's labor talks

In the opening salvo, we discover we may have the "Mother" of the all-time destructive sporting collective bargaining collisions on our hands. Borrowing from the playbook of the Robber Barons -- hitherto believed to have been retired in the Gay Nineties -- the owners are essentially declaring war on their own players. They vow to roll back wages roughly 22 percent while stripping their labor force of perks and rights they've enjoyed since the Original Six held them in total bondage a half century ago. To the players, the opening salvo was a bloody insult.

Many observers choose to regard the tactic as amusing, presumably on the assumption that the owners couldn't possibly be that dumb and are merely posturing. Methinks they underestimate the danger of these fools.

Serious degrees of incompetence and delusion characterize the ranks of the NHL's oafish moguls, at least half of whom have no business being in the game. As but one measure of their collective wit and wisdom, owning a hockey team in Phoenix makes as much sense as establishing a surfing school on Golden Pond. The Sunbelt owners, who now constitute a tyrannical minority, won't mind driving this alleged "negotiating" process right over the cliff.

If the owners are not posturing there's no way there will be a deal by the mid-September deadline; not with that worthy old Bolshevik, Don Fehr, calling the shots for the players. Nor is it likely that Commissioner Bettman -- who is totally in the tank with the owners -- would allow the season to start without a new contract although he could do that if the talks were proceeding. To those few who care, be advised that it's not too early to worry about whether there will be an NHL season, "next season."

London Olympics beckon

Featuring surface-to-air missile emplacements on top of apartment buildings abutting the stadium grounds to ward off would-be terrorists. Do you begin to wonder if the Games have outlived their reasonable necessity?

But it's nice to see the US Olympic Committee in familiar form. Allowing their team's garb to be produced in China is merely dumb. It's the pretensions of the thing that are truly amazing. The uniforms they've grandly authorized for the US delegation verify once again that the USOC doesn't have a clue. Is it further possible that having high-fashion designer Ralph Lauren produce the costumes is vaguely out of step with the essential premises of this athletic festival?

Why do they need to be decked out like Swiss Air attendants, or an honor guard from the Kingdom of Zenda, or a chorus line from a Rudolph Friml operetta? Can't you just see the assembled USOC poohbahs exclaiming in delight, "Ah now that's the look we want our boys and girls to have!" Perhaps, it's the berets.

Pitiful Penn State

Tragedy becomes laced with needless farce when the likes of Bill James, resident Red Sox guru, opts to blame the media for the classical failings of Joe Paterno. The Freeh Report slams the book shut. It's clear that dear old JoPa was no latter day Lear sadly wronged by twisted fates but someone or something much deeper and darker. Whoever wanders into the minefield of apologia on this dreadful matter is a dang fool.

Meanwhile, the NCAA in all its legendary pomposity prepares to get involved. Heaven help us! The marching band and chowder society from Kansas -- willing choreographers of all that's wrong with collegiate sport -- is said to be pondering further penalties for Penn State. How very gallant.

The dilemma is staggering. Should the University in Happy Valley be sanctioned for its monumental institutional failings? Few would object. But consider that those who would pay the heaviest price for any such sanctions are the kids now attending the university who had nothing to do with the crimes committed.

It would take Solomon himself to make the requisite very precise distinctions. Of this much, I can assure you. Solomon does not work for the NCAA.

Red Sox Notes

Which you can take to the bank for whatever they are worth.

The high priced and under achieving Adrian Gonzalez blundered when he opted out of the last ill-fated Red Sox meeting with the Yankees claiming an alleged but ill-defined "illness." No doubt his reasons were valid and his discomfort genuine and in Southern California, where he formerly performed, it would have passed unnoticed. But this is Boston and they were playing the Yankees in arguably the season's most important game, as are they all. Moreover, his illness promptly proved rather less than "terminal." Freddie Lynn, a better player who contributed more, got run out of town for much less.

Regarding David Ortiz, there's this question. When does likeable but increasingly irascible "Big Papi" push the envelope too far? In his latest excess, Ortiz reveals he found this season's contract negotiations that reaped him $14.5 million to have been "embarrassing" and ''humiliating.'' Can you imagine Yaz getting away with that? Recall how Nomar Garciaparra got hammered for whimpering that was hardly more indiscrete. Someone should remind Papi it was precisely three years ago that he promised to get back to us with an explanation for how he got included in Judge Mitchell's list of steroid cheats. We're still waiting.

Not sure what Bobby Valentine had in mind when he branded the departed Kevin Youkilis his clubhouse Quisling. But I do know this much. It was dumb. Valentine will never learn.

Patriots Cover Boy

That would be, of course, their herculean tight end Rob Gronkowski, emblazoned this week in what the tabloids used to call his ''birthday suit'' on the cover of the latest ESPN the Magazine, a shallow rag under the best of circumstances.

If Gronkowski feels he's lacked attention the problem's probably been rectified. But he ought also understand that notably depraved linebackers roaming the NFL minefield are likely to derive from his questionable photo-spread the inspiration to wipe the smile off his face, given the chance. If and when that happens you'll understand where they're coming from. This, apparently, is what sport has come to in our times. It's a brave new world.


On the other hand there is the annual tennis festival that well after a century and counting still exemplifies sport as its very best. There have been more dramatic tourneys at the jolly olde England in recent years but the triumphs of those 30-something paragons -- Roger Federer and Serena Williams -- was no less pleasing.

As usual, the tennis was terrific and the pageantry was elegant and everyone bowed politely to the starchy protocol of the thing and nobody grumbled about it nor sought to upstage it. In other words, it was wonderful. What is the finest sporting event of the year, every year? The answer is majestic Wimbledon, where essentially nothing has changed in a hundred years save for the addition of the roof they can roll out over centre court when it rains, as it always does. How grand!

All-Star Baseball

At the other extreme you have the tired and increasingly dismal parody of what was once indisputably a wonderful idea but no longer works. The last all-star game worthy of the distinction was played at Fenway Park in 1999 when the spontaneous celebration of Teddy Ballgame charmed the nation. But who remembers what happened in the game itself.

This year's flat and pointless renewal was deservedly rewarded with the worst television ratings in the history of the event. That this joyless exhibition should determine who gets critical home-field advantage in the World Series remains the most outrageous gimmick that the sitting commissioner has introduced in his interminably painful reign which has been full of them.

This party is over. Get rid of it. Nothing in Sport persists forever essentially unchanged. Except, maybe, Wimbledon!

Retired Green Bay auxiliary bishop failed to report abuse, withdraws from ministry

Green Bay, Wis., Sep 20, 2018 CNA/EWTN News.- Bishop Robert Morneau, Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus of Green Bay, has withdrawn from public ministry saying ...

Dolan 'impatient' waiting for apostolic visitation in response to McCarrick

New York City, N.Y., Sep 20, 2018 CNA.- The Archbishop of New York said Thursday that while he has confidence in the way Pope Francis is handling the ...

Two more Chilean bishops step down in wake of abuse crisis

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis accepted the resignations of two more Chilean bishops, bringing to seven the number of bishops who have stepped down ...

Celebration of the Priesthood dinner raises over $1.8 million

BOSTON -- A record 1,700 people attended the 10th annual Celebration of the Priesthood dinner to raise funds for the Clergy Health and Retirement Trust ...

Lawrence parish helps community cope with gas explosion aftermath

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 ...

Ceremony, Mass kick off St. Augustine Chapel bicentennial

SOUTH BOSTON -- St. Augustine Chapel and Cemetery began its year-long bicentennial celebration on the weekend of Sept. 14-16 with tours, special Masses, ...

Mass. Knights install new officers

The Massachusetts State Council Knights of Columbus recently held its Installation of State Officers at St. John the Evangelist Parish in Canton with ...

Deal will keep Sancta Maria Nursing Facility open

CAMBRIDGE -- Sancta Maria Nursing Facility announced Sept. 17 that it has negotiated a comprehensive operational contract with Advocate Healthcare Management ...

From Cardinal Seán's blog

As I mentioned in my preface to last week's blog, this week and last, I have been in Rome for meetings related to the work of the Pontifical Commission ...

N.Y. Archdiocese names judge as independent reviewer on abuse protocols

NEW YORK (CNS) -- New York Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan has named a former federal judge to study archdiocesan policies and procedures with respect to sexual ...

U.S. reports poverty declines, but agencies finding needs remain great

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The good news from the U.S. Census Bureau Sept. 12 was that the poverty rate dropped for the third straight year in 2017 and median ...

Class-action lawsuit filed against eight Pennsylvania dioceses

PITTSBURGH (CNS) -- A class-action lawsuit was filed Sept. 17 against eight Catholic dioceses in Pennsylvania demanding the dioceses provide proof that ...

Apostolic visitor outlines plans for expansion at Medjugorje shrine

WARSAW, Poland (CNS) -- The Polish archbishop tasked with overseeing Bosnia-Herzegovina's Medjugorje shrine has outlined plans for expansion, including ...

Pope names administrator as Indian bishop investigated for alleged rape

MUMBAI, India (CNS) -- Pope Francis has accepted the request of an Indian bishop accused of raping a nun to be relieved of his duties during the investigation. In ...

In letters to German cardinal, retired pope defends way he stepped down

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Retired Pope Benedict XVI expressed his displeasure with the way a German cardinal publicly criticized his stepping down as pontiff, ...

Thousands of Hispanics expected in Texas for Encuentro summit

Fort Worth, Texas, Sep 20, 2018 CNA/EWTN News.- As many as 3,000 Catholics of Hispanic background are expected in Texas this week for the National V Encuentro, ...

Church plans third-party abuse reporting system, code of conduct

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Pledging to "heal and protect with every bit of the strength God provides us," the U.S. bishops' Administrative Committee Sept. 19 ...

Be grateful to parents, never insult them, pope says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Honoring mothers and fathers means being grateful for the gift of life and Christians should never insult anyone's parents, Pope ...

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 ...

Media reporting Vatican-China agreement could be signed in late September

HONG KONG (CNS) -- The long-awaited Sino-Vatican agreement on the nomination of bishops is expected to be signed in September, reported several media ...

Update: Irish singer Bono calls pope 'extraordinary man for extraordinary times'

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Bono, the lead singer of the Irish band U2, said he told Pope Francis that in Ireland "it looks as though the abusers are being ...

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 ...

Advocates decry historically low cap for refugee entry in 2019

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Advocates for refugee admissions into the United States decried what one statement called a historically low cap of 30,000 for fiscal ...

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, ...

Catholic workers say U.S. aid cuts to Palestinians could be disastrous

JERUSALEM (CNS) -- The U.S. budgetary cuts to humanitarian aid institutions helping Palestinians could lead to long-term disastrous consequences, said ...