Monday, June 03, 2013

The LuLac Edition #2438, June 3rd, 2013


There was news this weekend that the Disability Fund will be broke by 2016. A mere three years from now. The trust fund has been running a deficit since 2009. It is funded primarily by payroll taxes but the recent increases will not cover the shortage. Further, a reduction in the payroll taxes was made up from the General Fund budget. So while less money is coming in, the fund remained where it was as if the taxes were never cut. What will happen is that Congress will have to make a tough decision on this program. In order to fund it fully, cuts will have to come from other programs. In the next few years, you’ll hear the GOP throw words around like entitlements and President Obama will wring his hands saying “something needs to be done”. Well, yeah, that’s why you need to get a deal with more sensible members of Congress. Look for this to be a hot button issue in next year’s midterms. 


The actress who portrayed Edith Bunker died at the age of 90 over the weekend. Jean Stapleton was known as the ditsy wife of Archie Bunker but the character was much more. Stapleton’s character explored the issues of rape, infidelity, as well as tolerance for minorities and gays. At a time when issues like that weren’t discussed on TV, let alone a comedy, Stapleton’s Edith Bunker character rose to the occasion with the way she reacted with pain, sadness and outrage to the complexities of these issues and the time in which they occurred. Stapleton was much more than Edith Bunker..just like there was more to Edith Bunker than being Archie’s dingbat.
Our 1963 logo.
The iconic photo I remember as a young boy of John XXIII. It seemed like this photo was everywhere. (Photo:
John XXIII was on the cover of Time Magazine at least five times. Here was the last cover. (Photo: Time magazine)
John XXIII ventured outside of the Vatican walls and visited sick children as well as prisoners. This was a break from tradition in the 20th century Papacy. (Photo:
Pope John XXIII’s body was uncorrupted and lies in a place of honor in the Vatican. (Photo: 


The very first Pope that I actually remembered was Pope John XXIII. I had very vague recollections of Pope Pius XIIth’s funeral on TV but being very young, I never understood the significance of that moment. But as a Catholic School student growing up in the 60s, Pope John XXIII was embedded in my consciousness. The Pope would appear every fall in our weekly Catholic reader handouts we received from the nuns. It seemed fitting that Pope John, the vicar of our faith had that vintage look while our President seemed so vibrant and young. The church we were told was an old institution with old, long held traditions. 
In the school year 1962-63, I was in the third grade. Every day, our nun Sister Isabelle would teach us our required religion course. But those classes were taught against the backdrop of the news that in October of 1962, John XXIII was calling a Vatican Council. John XXIII actually said he would convene the Council in 1959 a few months after assuming the Papacy but it was not top of the mind among most work a day Catholics. Details from our teachers were sketchy in October of ’62 but the undercurrent of speculation from our parents and their friends told all of us that this was a big thing happening. Catholic newspapers and even the Nightly News talked about the Council called by the Pope. 
Later that month, the talk of the Council was overshadowed by the Cuban Missile Crisis. The atomic missile replaced any changes in the news of any big change in the weekly missals we used back then at church. (If, as a kid you had access to a full blown Catholic missal, with the color ribbon bookmarks, it was a type of status symbol). As the fall gave way to Christmas and then the early spring, the work of Pope John’s Council went unnoticed by just about everyone. The first session in 1962 lasted only 15 minutes and then work would be split up among various participants to begin the Second session in 1963. The Council needed organizational meetings in preparation for the formal convening of Bishops but that was suspended when it was revealed Pope John took ill with cancer. (When John XXIII died, the Council was immediacy suspended and put into limbo until the next Pope reconvened it. Pope Paul VIth did just that). 
John the XXIII’s illness was at first kept under wraps but as 1963 progressed, the seriousness of his condition was revealed. In April of 1963 at an audience, the Pope said this about his mortality, “"That which happens to all men perhaps will happen soon to the Pope who speaks to you today." The Pope made only one more public appearance in May of 1963. He was anointed and given the Last Rights on the morning of June 3rd, 1963. The priest who was performing the sacrament got the tradition out of order and before he slipped away, the Pope gently corrected him and gave him the right order in which to perform it. 
Fifty years ago today, in the early evening, John XXIII died of peritonitis caused by a perforated stomach. 
As a Bishop he had made his mark during World War II saving many Jewish people from sure death against Nazi Germany and other European countries. He was the first Pope to visit the children of Rome in hospitals and prisoners in jail during the holidays venturing out of the confines of the Vatican. And he was the last Pope to have the full regalia of a Papacy which included a five hour Coronation. Subsequent Popes after Paul XI would later refuse the crown offered. 
During his Papacy, John was on the cover of Time Magazine at least five times and was a mainstay on secular magazines like Life, Look and the Saturday Evening Post. Multiply that exposure tenfold on Catholic magazines and you can see that he was a hard man to ignore. When John XXIII died, I remember it being big news. CBS News ran an hour long special with Rome correspondent Winston Burdette who told us of the Pope’s earlier life (born in 1881, being one of 13 children) and his subsequent rise to Papal power. 
His funeral occurred a few days later, we were taught about him in school, and were told that it might be possible he could be a Saint. (Pope John Paul II started that action for his predecessor). Being only nine, I was surprised that his body was on the front pages of all the newspapers. The funeral was broadcast on delay and as a young Catholic, it gave me the first inkling of what a traditional vehicle the Papacy was for the church I attended. As I grew, I felt fortunate to have witnessed history because ever since his death, the Papacy has always been compared to the standard set by John XXIII. Fifty years ago today, he died at the age of 81……. 
and fifty years ago this week, the number one song in LuLac land and America was ”Easier Said Than Done" by the Essex.



At 5:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like the fact you are highlighting '63. A lot happened. Nice job.

At 6:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Poor little Pope John Twenty Thoird.
(Brooklyn accent!)

At 2:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"and that's the way it was" in Catholic news for 1963. Except for the sad fact that around the same time the local church was covering up a murder committed by a priest in Texas. The "infallibility" of the Pope part is what gets me. What could be more ridiculous, why even Billy Graham isn't infallible!

At 2:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I continue to comalin that Congress will not increase the maximum income that requires payment into the fund. If there were no ceiling on required payments into the fund, the entire system would be solvent forever. DEven without the additional revenue deposits, this country cntinues to provide foreign aid to countries that vote against us in the UN and in the case of Pakitstan, we gave them foreign aid and wea;pons and they allowed the bad guyhs to use their contryh and resources to figh US forces. When will Congress wake up?

At 4:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not much of a fan of the Catholic Church, Popes or the idea of Saints, but it seems to me that the new guy is trying to bring a much needed humble approach to the job. I think some humility would go a long way in a church racked by controversy most of which they brought on themselves with an incredibly arrogant attitude toward their own parishioners and US law!
Obviously 2:47 was being sarcastic when he or she mentioned Billy Graham who lives on a mountaintop and is about as phony as they come!
Before anyone damns me as an atheist, I believe in God but not organized religion although I was raised in a religious home and am a graduate of a Jesuit College although not the U of Scranton.

At 5:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Moist excellent response 6:04!

At 6:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Speaking of atheists:

An atheist was seated next to a little girl on an airplane and he turned
To her and said, "Do you want to talk? Flights go quicker if you strike
Up a conversation with your fellow passenger."

The little girl, who had just started to read her book, replied to the total
... Stranger, "What would you want to talk about?"

"Oh, I don't know," said the atheist. "How about why there is no God,
Or no Heaven or Hell, or no life after death?" as he smiled smugly.

"Okay," she said. "Those could be interesting topics but let me ask
You a question first. A horse, a cow, and a deer all eat the same
Stuff - grass. Yet a deer excretes little pellets, while a cow turns
Out a flat patty, but a horse produces clumps. Why do you suppose that is?"

The atheist, visibly surprised by the little girl's intelligence,
Thinks about it and says, "Hmmm, I have no idea." To which
The little girl replies, "Do you really feel qualified to discuss
God, Heaven and Hell, or life after death, when you don't know shit?"

And then she went back to reading her book.

At 2:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Steven Hawking, Most Intelligent Individual on the Planet-ATHIEST!
Anyone who looks at it from a purely intellectual viewpoint has no choice but to conclude the same.
Faith- now that's another matter but has nothing to do with intelligence. Good joke but off point intellectually.

At 12:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can only guess that the book was the one and only true book, the Bible. The prevailing thought of the religious is if you don't agree with my thinking you are wrong. I'm inclined to let folks go their own way. Radical I know.
Maybe there is a God maybe not. Decide for yourself. Its a free country.

At 6:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Steven Hawking, Most Intelligent Individual on the Planet-ATHIEST!
Anyone who looks at it from a purely intellectual viewpoint has no choice but to conclude the same.
Faith- now that's another matter but has nothing to do with intelligence. Good joke but off point intellectually.

At 9:31 AM, Anonymous Pope George Ringo said...

Einstein believed in a supreme being.

At 8:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I looked up and read about 10 articles on Hawking's No-God theory.

Guess I'm either not smart enough to understand him or he is not smart enough to write on a level Joe Average can comprehend.

Reading counter-point arguments where a little more understandable.

To each his own.

I believe. He doesn't.


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