Thursday, January 01, 2009


I have this memory of the gaiety of New Year's Eve from the days when I was young. Is that just fanciful remembering? There was no gaiety in the air last night.

What happened to the parties at every restaurant, party center and hotel--reservations only--to ring in the New Year? Even bowling alleys used to have their joyous celebration by reservation only. I know because I attended some of them. There were years when the lack of a reservation meant we had to settle for fast food at McDonalds after trying several of our preferred choices.

I still hate to stay home on New Year's Eve. In recent years we have settled for dinner and a movie. Last night we repeated the restaurant and theater we had chosen last year. We nearly had the restaurant to ourselves. Only two other tables were taken.

This restaurant is Chinese, good, and not expensive. Last year it was busy, though we got by without a reservation. Didn't have one this year either, though we had allowed some extra time to wait. There obviously was no wait.

When we were finished we headed over to the theater next door. There were so few people milling around that the ticket window was closed and the tickets were being sold at the refreshment counter. This is a multi-screen complex with the latest releases, yet no people. We were early for "Doubt" and had No. 6 all to ourselves for probably 20 minutes. A total of eight others finally arrived before the picture started. Eight. On New Year's Eve.

Granted it was snowing. And cold. That may have kept some of the oldsters off the road, but it didn't keep us at home. It wasn't that bad. We drove the back roads to the restaurant. Hardly passed another car. The main roads were not completely deserted, but the lack of traffic was awesome. We even had the lighting display at Stow City Hall all to ourselves on the way home. I think we are in very serious economic times when New Year's Eve is a non-event.

"Doubt" was fascinating, if only to see unfold a story that has been the common story of so very many victims of sexual abuse in the Church. There were only two points I found not realistic. First, the nuns were in habit, placing the story prior to Vatican II. I don't think any of the corruption was believed prior to Vatican II, though it might very well have been there. Parents would have reacted by dismissing the nun rather than believing such a thing of a priest back then. I also found the parents of the child to be too willing to cooperate with the activities of the priest and with a full acceptance of homosexuality in a 12-year-old son, even to the point of the mother believing that the priest could somehow "make it all better" for her child. In the 1950s?? Please!

Loved the ending. Yes, that ending expresses what not only the nun but all of us have experienced as the revelations have come about. Doubt. Incomprehension. Disbelief that such horror could be happening inside an institution dedicated to God.

I should close this commentary with the traditional Happy New Year. This morning I don't feel all that happy. I don't feel optimistic given the president we have elected. I don't feel any hope that things will be getting better any time soon. And so I'll close it with the wish that the New Year might be a bit better than all of us fear, and a wish that God will spare us our worst fears that just could become a reality.

May God have mercy on us!

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!

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