In the meantime, locally....

Clark Booth

Here are some bones to chew on while awaiting the inevitable, annual disappointment that will come when the Veterans’ Hall of Fame Committee reveals its vote this week and draws another blank. And if that happens -- and the churlish old guard again refuses to anoint new Cooperstown lodge brothers -- can we expect action on reforming this process? Somebody wake up Czar Bud and see if he deigns to deal with it.

... Halls of Fame are much on one’s mind and it’s hard to fathom how or why the basketball version snubbed Dennis Johnson for so long. There’s no pantheon easier to crack. They routinely elevate seven to 10 people a year at their Springfield museum, half of them strangers. Nor have many of them been in DJ’s league. Oddly, with Johnson, they played hardball. And now it is too late. Watch them scramble and enshrine him with much fanfare ASAP. It will be aggravating. But Johnson, a confident man who precisely understood his own worth, would have been amused.

... The Tom Brady flap having to do with the intimacies of his private life proves only that Sir Galahad can morph into Sir Lancelot at the drop of an eyelash. And it further verifies that you bark up the wrong tree when you ascribe virtues to a professional athlete that are rarely on display outside of the communion of saints. In other words, the fault lies not so much with Brady, who is merely a football player, as with all of us who have expected more from him than he’s capable of giving. It happens every fall.

... On the other hand, it should be noted that Brady has rescued his boss yet again. Tom’s lapse from grace chases Coach Belichick and his ongoing ordeal off the gossip pages. Good of Tom. Doubtless Bill is grateful. Though it probably won’t last.

... The tabloid frenzy over the allegedly bruised relationship of poor little A-Rod and darling Derek, which has been all the rage in New York, is classic “chipmunk” fodder. Pop-shrinks at heart, the “munks” of the media love to probe the inner secrets of the ballplayer’s psyche and personality finding all of that much more interesting than batting or earned run averages. When it reaches ludicrous extremes as is the case with the Rodriguez-Jeter issue it is more worthy of “the Romance of Helen Trent” than the New York Yankees. A soap opera by any other name remains a soap opera.

... But then the Yankees haven’t been the same since Paul O’Neill retired.

... Meanwhile, over in relatively blissful Fort Myers, the now-generation Red Sox management which seems to know every trick in the book did a smart thing when they showered David Ortiz with some nice perks including a new, six-figure chariot. Last spring, they low-balled Ortiz with a long-term $12.5 per year pact. Then over the winter, they handed the relatively questionable and undeserving J.D. Drew a $14 million per year deal.

Now to the rational person a $1.5 million distinction among the idle super-rich shouldn’t be that big a deal. But these are baseball players we are talking about and they measure every ounce of their moral, ethical and physical worth by the size of their paycheck. On most teams the insult would have been palpable and the offended party would now be sulking on some Caribbean beach searching out antique car shows. But not Ortiz. Ever gracious, the jovial slugger wisely chose to ignore it. And management wisely made it clear they recognize such classy behavior.

This doesn’t happen every day in this game anymore.

... A reasonable tolerance for the vagaries of political correctness is not unreasonable. Sensitivities are tough to measure and deeply personal. There are no broad and objective standards for good taste. When in doubt, one should defer. But even by that yardstick the contretemps over Chief Illiniwek, long the mascot of the University of Illinois, was way over the line.

Illiniwek was never portrayed as a buffoon or a “savage.” Rather he was rendered as classy, sagacious, and proud. Indeed -- and I think this is the main point -- he represented a people, the Illini Indian Nation, that was wiped out by neighboring Indian tribes (NOT the white man) a full quarter of a century before the Declaration of Independence was promulgated. Illiniwek perpetuated with style and grace an historical note of substance. Where’s the harm in that? Moreover, polls consistently show that native-Americans by an overwhelming margin are not offended by such characterizations.

But a small and vocal minority of activists declines to let up. Goaded on by the bureaucratic bullies of the otherwise inept NCAA, they managed to get the Illinois Legislature to threaten to cut off state aid if the university refused to surrender. The tail wags the dog; the center no longer holds.

Maybe it is not a big deal. What’s in a nickname? But it’s a big deal if you are a “Fighting Illini” alum. When Illiniwek cavorted for the last time at a basketball game a month ago the field house was awash in tears.

... Raise your hand if you agree that Jonathan Papelbon will be closing for the Town Team by Memorial Day. After less than a week of spring camp you sensed a certain ambiguity developing in the notion that the health of Papelbon’s arm will be better served if he is a starter. They are going to talk themselves into the bullpen role and the kid -- a genuine warrior -- will go along. Just watch!

... What a marvelous job Reporter Kevin Cullen -- a South Boston lad who has long covered Ireland and her “troubles” for the Globe -- did on the epic and historic meeting of Ireland and England on a rugby field in Dublin. The “Lads,” God love ’em, won in a match that was glorified by the fabulous conduct of both teams and the 86,000 people in the stands. It was True Sport at its very finest and Cullen conveyed it brilliantly.

... Isn’t it time for Danny Ainge to peddle Paul Pierce? He doesn’t appear to have many other options left. It might be amusing to see what he would do with, say, four first round draft picks. Yet Teflon Danny continues to escape the wrath of the masses even as the glorious legacy he mismanages racks up its 22nd loss in the last 24 games (and counting), most of them -- increasingly -- by blowout margins.

Alongside the atrocity of Ainge’s works, the Bruins -- who have recently managed at least a puckish hint of grit -- should get a little respect. But, no way! You’d think it was the Bruins who were 12 games out of the playoffs and 32 games behind the league-leader. Perhaps it’s the bereavement factor. Celtic legions may be allowing their once fabled franchise a little space in the wake of the loss of Red. That’s touching to be sure. But woe be to Ainge when that sweet sentiment expires. And it will!

... Lastly, a word on two crusty characters who long graced the sports beat in this town and departed on the Long Goodbye last week. Bob Monahan toiled for both the Herald and the Globe. He was a rare character in this dodge, much preferring to cover the kids, the amateurs, and the collegians rather than the big-money, “high-on-their horse,” pros. The term is too lightly used but Dick Raphael was a genuine legend among sports photogs. Much of his work was done for Sports Illustrated. You can find some smashing examples at the Basketball Hall of Fame. A huge, lumbering, Falstaffian character Dick was of the elite handful who covered every Super Bowl, all XLI of them. The distinction meant so much to him that he graced the last one a month ago even as the clock was ticking down.

Monahan and Raphael! They came from another time, another place when very few of the gang came out of the Ivy League and fools were not suffered gladly and that was the first thing you learned. I say it every time because every time it’s true. They don’t make them like these chaps anymore.

CRS sells fair trade coffee, supporting Mexican farmers and land

Baltimore, Md., Sep 24, 2018 CNA/EWTN News.- Catholic Relief Services is now offering fair trade coffee beans that will benefit local farming communities ...

The Jesuit who survived the KGB

Vilnius, Lithuania, Sep 24, 2018 CNA.- When Pope Francis visited a former KGB building in Vilnius, Lithuania Sept. 23, Archbishop Sigitas Tamkevicius ...

Next step toward artificial reproduction violates human fundamentals, ethicist warns

Washington D.C., Sep 25, 2018 CNA/EWTN News.- Artificial human reproduction appears to be on the horizon with Japanese scientists’ claim to ...

Scandals create outrage, but there is time for conversion, pope says

TALLINN, Estonia (CNS) -- In what is probably the least religious country in Europe, Pope Francis said he is surprised by how many people hold firm to ...

Catholic leaders oppose administration's plan to limit green cards

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Catholic leaders are speaking out against a Trump administration proposed rule announced Sept. 22 that would deny green cards to legal ...

Head of Georgetown Prep urges renewed commitment to being 'men for others'

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- In a letter to the school community, the president of an all-boys Jesuit high school in suburban Washington emphasized the schools' ...

Today is 'hour of the laity,' Archbishop Gomez tells Encuentro delegates

GRAPEVINE, Texas (CNS) -- Hispanic Catholic leaders are living an important moment in the history of the Catholic church in the U.S. and are called to ...

Stay close to the suffering, forgive one another, pope tells Latvians

AGLONA, Latvia (CNS) -- What would Mary do? was the question Pope Francis, in effect, asked Latvian Catholics gathered at their nation's popular Marian ...

Joy, hope contagious for Encuentro participants as they discern priorities

GRAPEVINE, Texas (CNS) -- Joy, hope, energy and a spirit of continued collaboration are contagious among the participants of the Fifth National Encuentro, ...

Update: Pope in Lithuania: Don't let anti-Semitism, hatred resurge

VILNIUS, Lithuania (CNS) -- Outside the former KGB headquarters in Vilnius, Pope Francis ended a day of paying homage to victims of totalitarianism and ...

God is patient, even with failures, pope tells young Lithuanians

VILNIUS, Lithuania (CNS) -- Meeting young Lithuanians in Vilnius, Pope Francis said he wanted a relaxed conversation, like they were sitting in a pub ...

Update: Vatican signs provisional agreement with China on naming bishops

VILNIUS, Lithuania (CNS) -- For the first time in decades, all of the Catholic bishops in China are in full communion with the pope, the Vatican announced. Pope ...

Find strength in tolerance, solidarity, pope tells Lithuanians

VILNIUS, Lithuania (CNS) -- In Lithuania, a nation that experienced invasions, atrocities and persecution, Pope Francis began his visit with a plea to ...

Ospino: Encuentro reflects 'energy, maturity' of a church 'here to stay'

GRAPEVINE, Texas (CNS) -- The thousands of Hispanic Catholic ministry leaders gathered in Texas for the Fifth National Encuentro shared views on the maturity ...

N.J. cardinal won't attend synod, asks to remain home at 'time of crisis'

NEWARK, N.J. (CNS) -- Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin of Newark told the people of his archdiocese Sept. 21 that Pope Francis has granted his request that he ...

Detroit Archdiocese welcomes investigation into Michigan dioceses

DETROIT (CNS) -- Michigan's attorney general has opened an investigation into the handling of sexual abuse by clergy in all of Michigan's seven Catholic ...

Catholics believe in God but 'don't believe in us,' Miami archbishop says

MIAMI (CNS) -- The crisis the Catholic Church is facing is not "a crisis of faith" or "mainly about a crisis of sexual abuse by clergy," but is "a crisis ...

Update: Disney animator says grounding in Catholic schools led to success

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (CNS) -- Ron Clements is a renowned animator, screenwriter and producer-director of award-winning Disney films, including the blockbuster ...

#WhyImCatholic movement aims to share hope at difficult time for church

CHICAGO (CNS) -- Catholic Extension has launched a new social media campaign called #WhyImCatholic to offer "hope and unity" for Catholics by inviting ...

Continue to be an evangelizing church, nuncio tells Encuentro delegates

GRAPEVINE, Texas (CNS) -- Quoting from Pope Francis' apostolic exhortation "The Joy of the Gospel," Archbishop Christophe Pierre encouraged Hispanic Catholic ...

Encuentro opens with procession, papal message, prayers for abuse victims

GRAPEVINE, Texas (CNS) -- A video message from Pope Francis and a procession of Encuentro crosses representing all of the participating episcopal regions ...

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 ...