Archive | February, 2013

Pope Benedict XVI thanked us…

February 25, 2013

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Photo licensed by Creative Commons by Sergey Gabdurakhmanov

Photo licensed by Creative Commons by Sergey Gabdurakhmanov

Of course we are not active in the pro-life movement in order to get a pat on the back. But, perhaps you remember that Pope Benedict XVI thanked those who promote a culture of life. He did this not only by assisting with the writing of The Gospel of Life (in which there is a section that gives gratitude), but also during his worldwide prayer vigil in November of 2010.

May God bless our dear shepherd’s final days of the papacy, and may the Holy Spirit guide the decision of the upcoming conclave.

And thank you, Holy Father, for all you do to embrace life.

Here are my favorite paragraphs from the words of thanks delivered by Pope Benedict XVI:

“Dear brothers and sisters, our coming together this evening to begin the Advent journey is enriched by another important reason: with the entire Church, we want to solemnly celebrate a prayer vigil for unborn life. I wish to express my thanks to all who have taken up this invitation and those who are specifically dedicated to welcoming and safeguarding human life in different situations of fragility, especially in its early days and in its early stages.”

“[T]here is no reason not to consider [the human embryo] a person from conception. It’s not a question of a collection of biological material, but of a new living being, dynamic and marvelously ordered, a new individual of the human species. This is how Jesus was in Mary’s womb; this is how we each were in our mother’s womb.”

“I urge the protagonists of politics, economic and social communications to do everything in their power to promote a culture which respects human life, to provide favorable conditions and support networks for the reception and development of life.”

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Christ, His Church and the teaching on Infallibility

February 25, 2013

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The pope is infallible only when he speaks on doctrine of faith and morals. Photo/Jess Pac    Licensed under Creative Commons.

The pope’s proclamations on doctrine of faith and morals are infallible, the Church teaches. Photo/Jess Pac. Licensed under Creative Commons.

I know it’s been quite a while since my last post. I wish I could say I’ve been taking a break from the blog to study in Rome this winter. Someday, maybe …

I recently heard a radio news announcer almost deify the Holy Father when he asked whether Pope Benedict would “continue to be infallible” in his retirement. Even after another journalist tried to clarify the teaching on papal infallibility, the program host persisted in his error.

With such confusion around us, I thought it might be good to look at what the Church really teaches on infallibility.

Popes themselves are not infallible

First of all, popes themselves are not infallible, which means to be exempt or immune from liability to error. Most have been holy men but also bearers of original sin like the rest of us. The Church teaches that only papal proclamations connected to doctrinal authority are considered infallible.

According to the Catechism, “The Roman Pontiff, head of the college of bishops, enjoys this infallibility in virtue of his office, when, as supreme pastor and teacher of all the faithful – who confirms his brethren in the faith – he proclaims by a definitive act a doctrine pertaining to faith or morals …” (CCC891)

Since infallibility comes with the office, any statements Pope Benedict makes after he retires will not be considered infallible. Though history tells us some popes led less than exemplary lives, none of them compromised the Church’s Magisterium (teaching authority).

We hear a lot about papal infallibility but in reality, Catholics believe Christ granted this attribute not just to St. Peter and his successors but to His Church. He desires the unity of faith. Belief in the Church’s infallibility in defining faith and morals is Church dogma established at the first Vatican Council (1869-1870). Many Church fathers also wrote in support of the Church’s infallibility.

Evidence in Scripture

The concept of infallibility is not found explicitly in a particular scripture verse but the following passages, together with explanation from Catholic Encyclopedia, offer evidence that the Lord intended it.

  •  Matthew 28:18-20; The Church believes Christ gave the Apostles teaching authority, not just for themselves but to pass on to their successors.
  • Matthew 16:18; “The gates of hell will not prevail” against the Church, which implies the assurance of infallibility in the exercise of her teaching office.
  • John 14, 15, and 16; Jesus promises the Holy Spirit’s presence and assistance to His Church; the Spirit of truth is responsible for the veracity of Church teaching.
  • I Timothy 3:14-15; St. Paul states that the Church is the “pillar and foundation” of truth.
  • Acts 15:28 The authority of the Holy Spirit in Church teaching.

Since papal infallibility was defined at Vatican I, it has only been used directly once, to define the doctrine of the Assumption in 1950. Bl. John Paul II used it indirectly to declare in a 1994 apostolic letter that the Church  doesn’t have authority to ordain women. The following year the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith declared that teaching belongs to the deposit of faith — the body of saving truth entrusted by Christ to the Apostles to be preserved and proclaimed.

Besides the pope himself, the college of bishops also speaks infallibly when exercising the Church’s Magisterium.

Drawing from Vatican II documents the Catechism states:  “ … The infallibility promised to the Church is also present in the body of bishops when, together with Peter’s successor, they exercise the supreme Magisterium, above all in an Ecumenical Council. When the Church through its supreme Magisterium proposes a doctrine ‘for belief as being divinely revealed,’ and as the teaching of Christ the definitions ‘must be adhered to with the obedience of faith.’ This infallibility extends as far as the deposit of divine Revelation itself.” (CCC891)

The Holy Spirit’s 2,000-year guidance of the Catholic Church is evidence of the infallibility of her Magisterium. Not that it hasn’t been rocky sometimes. Still, it’s why I have confidence that the new pope will continue the tradition of teaching authoritatively — and infallibly — on faith and morals.

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Baseball’s Jewish slugger: Hank Greenberg

February 23, 2013

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GREENBERG COVERHank Greenberg’s name comes up less often than that of other baseball greats, even though he hit 58 home runs in a season, four times led the American League in both homers and runs batted in, twice was named most valuable player and is in the Hall of Fame.

But the slugger from the World Series-winning Detroit Tiger teams of the 1930s and ’40s deserves a place along side Ruth, Gehrig and Aaron, and Minneapolis writer John Rosengren presents persuasive evidence and compelling reading in a new biography, “Hank Greenberg: Hero of Heroes” (New American Library).

It’s a book about a man’s life, about homers, RBIs, slugging percentages and dramatic moments on the diamond in the era when the nation was glued to radio sets to catch the games. But Rosengren’s meticulous research makes the case that Greenberg is due recognition not just for the way he played between the chalk lines, not just for volunteering for military service after Pearl Harbor when he was the highest-paid player in the country, but for lifting up an entire people in an atmosphere of religious and ethnic prejudice

Greenberg was Jewish.

Jews didn’t play baseball. Jews themselves thought it not a worthy profession, and much of society at the time thought Jews weren’t built with the strength or attributes to play sports.

Hank Greenberg changed that, pushing assimilation forward for a generation of immigrant Jews and their children.

Sept. 10 was Rosh Hashanah in 1934, and the Detroit Tigers were in a pennant race. Jews were to neither work nor played on Rosh Hashanah.

But on that Rosh Hashanah star first-baseman Hank Greenberg went to the synagogue in the morning and in the afternoon hit one home run to tie the Boston Red Sox then another, walk-off homer in the ninth inning to win the key game that led to the Tigers winning the pennant.

With that balanced approach “He had begun to change the way Jews thought about baseball,” Rosengren writes, “and the way baseball fans — Americans — thought about Jews.”

Outright bigotry

Much the way Jackie Robinson would be heckled in the late 1940s and early 1950s when he became the first Black player to break the major league’s color barrier, Greenberg faced the anti-semetic prejudice of the 1930s. Opposing fans and players alike called out slurs like “kike” and “sheeny” when he came to bat.

Rosengren shares several anecdotes that tell what that was like for Greenberg, none better than the following.

Playing against Chicago one day, Greenberg was harassed all game from the White Sox dugout. As he was running down the first base someone shouted, “You big, yellow Jew bastard!”

After the game, Greenberg walked into the Chicago clubhouse and announced, “I want the guy who called me a ‘yellow Jew bastard’ to get to his feet and say it to my face.”

“No one moved,” Rosengren writes. “Hank walked slowly around the room and looked at each of them. . . . Not one of the dared stand up.”

Rosengren puts the ballplayer’s biography into the culture of the times, combining baseball stories with references to what was going on around the globe as well as what was happening in American life — Shirley Temple dancing in the movies, Walter Winchell gossiping on the pages of the nation’s newspapers and Detroit’s own Father Charles Coughlin spewing diatribes on the radio against bankers, Jews and Franklin Roosevelt.

The prejudice Greenberg faced plays against the background of quotas that were prevalent to limit the percentage of Jews in various areas of life in the United States, the bias he found in the media and the world stage, where Hitler’s ethnic cleansing would have a fateful impact on Greenberg’s career.

Warts and all

Greenberg is no saint, though, and this is no hageography. The star’s competitiveness at times makes him his own worst enemy. After four years serving in the Army Air Force during World War II — including duty overseas — steals what may have been prime years from his already outstanding career, Greenberg gets involved in the front-office end of baseball as a general manager and part owner, and at times is as ruthless as the front office people he battled when he was a player himself.

He crafts a team that in 1954 breaks the strangehold the New York Yankees have on the American League pennant, but his lack of skill in the public relations realm eventually gets him fired.

Yet he was also a man ahead of his time, advocating for a pension plan for ballplayers, arguing for baseball to drop the reserve clause, calling for a football-like draft to equalize the talent among the teams, championing interleague play and urging expansion to California, all of which eventually happened.

What Rosengren has done, it seems to this fan of baseball past as well as present, is bring to life a man and a baseball era worthy of being better known by those who love the game.

Like another Henry when Aaron was harassed by bigots as he chased the then elusive 60 home run mark, Greenberg too heard the catcalls and received the threatenting letters in the year he hit 58. America’s prejudices die hard, if they ever die.

But given the background of Nazism abroad and bigoted ignorance at home, Greenberg’s accomplishments deserve an airing with just the excellence Rosengren’s source-filled, reader-friendly, baseball-loving treatment provides. Perhaps he put it best:

“In a dark time, Hank was certainly giving the Jewish community something to cheer, but he was doing something even more significant: In an age when Jews were considered weak, unathletic and impotent, Greenberg stood as a mightly figure and, in his image as a home run slugger, a symbol of power. He changed the way Jews thought about themselves. And the way others thought about them.”

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German Catholics in WWII play role in modern mystery

February 16, 2013

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“The German Suitcase”  (Premier Digital Publishing, 2012) is one more novel to feed my World War II addiction.
Greg Dinallo puts complex, likeable characters into an interesting plot with flashbacks to Nazi Germany to fill in the mystery.
Prescient readers may solve that mystery relatively quickly, but that doesn’t make “The German Suitcase” any less of a good read.

german suitcase coverThe fictional story includes a family of Catholics who assist Jews to escape the Holocaust. The fact that a contemporary author is writing anything positive about Catholics makes Dinallo’s bit of fiction unique today.

Of course, the page-turning story was going along swimminglywhen for some unknown reason there is a gratuitous reference to how the Vatican has handled the clergy sex abuse crisis. For the love of God I can’t understand why Dinallo included that in the novel; it doesn’t do one thing to advance the plot.

But here’s a theory: Major publishers think it helps sell books if there’s something in them to bash the church. Have you noticed, too? I’d love to hear from those who’ve found evidence in other novels that either prove or disprove my theory. — bz

 

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2 Matt Birk quotes that score extra points

February 8, 2013

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Licensed undeer Creative Commons

Licensed undeer Creative Commons

I was blessed to have Matt Birk’s brother in my fourth-grade class when I was a brand new teacher. For Valentine’s Day that year, I taught the students about measurement by instructing them on how to make French Silk pies. His enterprising mother told me that her boys used that recipe to turn a “sweet” profit. They had their own little business out of the home in which they took orders from neighbors and family members. They’d make the pies and then deliver them in a wagon. This was Matt Birk’s first job. I’m glad he has given up peddling pies and is now doing something that pays a bit better. With six kids, the grocery bills are as high as a football post, and difficult to tackle.

I know, my husband and I have nine kids. We have enjoyed watching Matt Birk and his wife, Adrianna, with their own brood. Often we are in the back of church together trying to quiet toddlers. They are excellent parents, and so good to their Catholic faith. In fact, my sister is in a Bible study with Adrianna; it’s a program she brought to our area. And, as many of you know, Matt Birk has done a brilliant job in speaking out for traditional marriage, family and life.

Thank you Birk family!

Here are some great quotes from him taken from an article in The National Catholic Register:

1) You’ve been active in the pro-life movement. What would you say to someone discouraged about the more than 50 million boys and girls killed in abortions during 40 years under Roe v. Wade?

The big picture is really ugly, but instead of letting that dominate your thinking, I would say to keep the faith and concentrate on the one or two things you can do. You may not be able to save thousands of lives on your own, but the one life you can save today does mean a lot.

Whether it’s teaching our own children to be pro-life, contacting our elected representatives or working at crisis-pregnancy centers, we can all do something. These examples are in addition to prayer, which everyone can do and which everyone should do. Prayer is the basis of any good action. Each little effort helps to bring about a culture of life, a culture in which children are appreciated rather than disposed of.

I spoke at a pro-life rally in Maryland a couple years ago, and it was a life-changing experience. I heard other speakers, including women who deeply regretted their own abortions. Their work, carried out through the Silent No More Awareness Campaign, was very persuasive. It wasn’t just a theoretical discussion; it was real women who had experienced the trauma of losing a child through abortion. They wanted to prevent other women from going through that same thing.

If people were told the truth about abortion, no one would ever seek out the procedure. We hear about “choice” and “reproductive rights,” but no one is ever told by an abortionist, “I will kill your baby by ripping off its arms and legs.” The women from Silent No More let people know the facts so that better decisions will be made. It’s very admirable work.

2) You’ve also been publicly supporting the institution of marriage. What are some misconceptions that people have regarding marriage?

The major misconception is that marriage is anything you want it to be, rather than the lifelong union of a man and a woman for the purpose of raising children. That’s what it has been for all of recorded history and what it continues to be today, regardless of what some people think.

There has been an intense attack on marriage for decades. It has become easier to get divorced, which means the breakup of the closest relationships: those involving spouses and children. This is devastating for the family, especially children, who need a father and a mother. When the marriage is torn apart, each child can feel like he or she is being torn apart.

After all these years of easy divorce, many people have given up on marriage completely. They just live together without any commitment. Needless to say, this isn’t the best of situations for them or for the children who might be involved. What’s needed is not a flight from responsibility, but a firmer commitment to it.

One of the things I’ve learned from the Catholic faith that applies to marriage, football and any other aspect of life is to appreciate discipline. On the surface, self-indulgence appears best for us, but that route only weakens us and leaves us unhappy. Self-denial appears to be worst for us, but that route strengthens us and makes us truly content.

Jesus said if anyone would be his follower he or she must deny his or herself, take up his or her cross and follow him. The way of the cross is the only way to be a true Christian, and it’s really the only way to get anything worthwhile done. It helps you to become the best version of yourself, to use a term from Catholic author and speaker Matthew Kelly.

In order for us to be the best versions of ourselves, we do not need to reinvent marriage, but to recommit ourselves to it. We need to look at it, not with our own agendas in mind, but with God’s plan in mind. He created us, so he knows what is best for us.

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St. Scholastica, Virgin and Religious

February 8, 2013

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St. Benedict speaking to St. Scholastica detail at Seven Dolors in Albany

St. Benedict speaking to St. Scholastica detail at Seven Dolors in Albany

St. Scholastica (480-547) was born in Nursia, Italy, in 480 AD.  She is the twin sister of St. Benedict.  As a young woman she consecrated herself to God, and she remained at home to assist her father while her brother Benedict went to Rome to study.

St. Benedict is the founder of Western monasticism, the one who developed the concept of men living together in a religious community in a monastery for a spiritual purpose under a rule of life.  Upon his return from Rome he founded a monastery at Monte Casino.

In parallel fashion, St. Scholastica founded a house for women religious or a convent at Plombariola only five miles south of Monte Casino.  Previously women who wished to live a more intense spiritual life did so on their own in seclusion and occasionally a few women would live together.  St. Scholastica expanded the communal life dimension.  She gathered women who wished to focus more exclusively on God into larger groups, usually younger virgins and older widows.  In the convent they were able to separate themselves from the concerns and temptations of the world to concentrate on a life of prayer, mutual support, and good works.

St. Benedict was the abbot or superior of the monastery, and St. Scholastica was the abbess or superior of the convent.  Even though they lived separately they stayed in close communication and shared a strong spiritual bond.  Once each year they met for a single day to pray and discuss spiritual matters, and because Scholastica was not permitted to enter the monastery, their meeting took place at a home between the two.

They had a remarkable final meeting.  Scholastica was advanced in age and had a premonition that her time was short, so after dinner she asked her brother to stay longer.  The Benedictine Rule requires a monk to be in the monastery every night, so Benedict declined.  Scholastica said a quick prayer and almost instantly a violent thunderstorm broke out which forced Benedict to remain indoors.  Benedict exclaimed, “Sister, what have you done?”  She answered, “I asked a favor of you and you refused it.  I asked it of God and he has granted it.”

Three days later St. Scholastica died and St. Benedict, who was praying at that moment, looked up and saw her soul ascending to heaven in the form of a dove.

St. Scholastica is considered the founder of the Benedictine sisters; her symbols are a dove, the book of the Benedictine Rule, and a pastoral staff; she is the patron saint of women religious; and she is a special intercessor against storms and lightening, and for children suffering convulsions.

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The bow hunting offseason is now!

February 6, 2013

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I have always marveled at stories about professional athletes who describe the work they do to try and win a championship.

A common thread is that the campaign started during the offseason. A familiar comment goes something like this: “The day after the season ended last year, I got right to work on my offseason conditioning, and right then and there I set my goal on winning a title.”

Look at Adrian Peterson. The recently announced NFL MVP has said many times that his campaign to be the best running back in the league began minutes after he tore his ACL in a game against the Washington Redskins last season. In fact, before he even left the stadium that fateful day in December 2011, he vowed to play the next season.

And, he did just that. Not only did he lead the league in rushing, he fell just nine yards short of Eric Dickerson’s single-season record. And, in the process, he led the Vikings to the playoffs for the first time in three years. It is well documented how hard he worked to rehab his injured knee. He ended up playing in every single game. And, he left little doubt that he was the hardest working player on the team this year, maybe in the entire league.

I think about that now, with the bow hunting season closed and a seven-month wait until the start of the 2013 archery deer season. Unlike many other hunters, I don’t put my bow on the shelf at this time of year. I continue shooting, mostly to keep my muscles in shape. And, just as important, I am using this time to make improvements on my bow setup.

The biggest tweak is getting a new string on my bow. The old one was showing serious signs of wear, including some cut fibers that could hamper accuracy and lead to breaking of the string. So, I decided to replace it.

For advice, I visited an archery shop in Hudson called A-1 Archery. The guy I talked to recommended one made by a local company called Vapor Trail. I did some checking and saw some great reviews. I even called the company and talked to one of their technicians about the strings they manufacture. I love being able to call a company and actually talk to someone about the products. Seems like companies in the hunting and fishing industry understand this. It’s by no means the first time I have talked to a person at a company about its products. In fact, one time I talked to the company president about a turkey choke and he took my order over the phone! The turkey choke I ordered, called a Comp-N-Choke, has worked great for me, and it likely will be the last turkey choke I ever buy for my Remington 11-87.

I ended up ordering a Vapor Trail string, and got it installed at A-1 earlier this week. The technician there put it on while I waited, then I was able to take some test shots. They put on what’s called a peep sight on the string, which allows you to look through the same opening every time you shoot. Plus, I no longer need special tubing to keep the peep aligned correctly. Vapor Trail says there is no peep rotation in the string, therefore no need to install tubing to keep it in proper alignment.

I had problems with the tube breaking about once every month or two. That means you have to reattach it before you can see through the peep and shoot again. I always feared that it would happen when I was drawing back on a deer. Now, those worries are gone.

Next on my list is sighting in my bow with the new string. After that, I will look at stabilizers. I have a cheap one on my bow now, and would like a high-end one to make sure I can shoot more consistently. It’s all part of being prepared.

I’m really hoping to tag my first archery deer next season. I have gone two seasons without doing so, and the mistakes and failures have fueled my motivation to be successful next time around. I will do all I can to address the little things because that could make all the difference come September.

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St. Agatha, Virgin and Martyr

February 5, 2013

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StAgatha

St. Agatha at Holy Spirit in Two Harbors

St. Agatha was born in Sicily during the Third Century, and she spent her entire lifespan during the time before Christianity was legal in the Roman Empire.

Youthful Zeal for the Lord.  As a young lady Agatha decided to dedicate herself totally to God.  She considered herself to be a bride of Christ and reserved herself totally to him as a virgin.  Previously St. Paul had written, “An unmarried woman or a virgin is anxious about the things of the Lord, so that she may be holy in both body and spirit” (1 Cor 7:34a).

The Assault on Her Virtue.  A young, influential, Roman consul named Quintian met Agatha, came to desire her, and insisted that she marry him.  He threatened her with torture if she refused him.  Agatha was faithful to her promise to God and flatly rebuffed his advances and proposal.

Persecution and Torture.  Outraged, Quintian sent Agatha to a house of prostitution to ridicule her.  Steadfast in virtue, Agatha was subsequently tortured.  She was stretched out on a rack, and then both of her breasts were brutally hacked off.  According to tradition, St. Peter appeared to Agatha in a vision and she was miraculously healed.

Cruel Martyrdom.  Agatha subsequently was sent to prison.  A few days after her confinement, she was stripped naked and rolled over burning coals and sharp broken shards, and as she died the witnesses overhead her hand over her spirit to God as both Jesus (Lk 23:46) and St. Stephen (Acts 7:59) had done.  Her death occurred in 251 AD during the persecution of the Roman emperor Decius (249-251).

Symbols.  St. Agatha is often shown with a crown on her head, the crown of martyrdom; palms, the symbol of the martyrs; a pair of pincers, a knife, or a meat cutters blade, sharp instruments that were used to cut off her breasts and torture her; or a platter with her two breasts.

Patronage.  Because Agatha’s breasts were painfully removed, she is the patron saint of women with breast cancer and other breast ailments.  Because she was healed, she is the patron saint of nurses.  Because she lived a chaste youth, she is the patron saint of young people who wish to adhere to high moral standards.  Because she was faithful to her promise to be a bride of Christ, she is the patron saint of married couples who wish to be faithful to their marriage vows and want to reserve themselves exclusively for their spouse.  Because she lived in Sicily, she is the patron saint of Palermo and Catania.  There was an eruption of the volcano on Mount Etna, and it is believed that through her intercession the volcano subsided, so she is the patron saint of those who want protection from volcanoes and fires, as well as the patron saint of firefighters.  She is the patron saint of bell makers and bell ringers for a variety of reasons:  possibly because bells were rung when the volcano erupted, or some lava solidified in the shape of a bell, or, and in a few cases when St. Agatha was depicted with her breasts on a plate, there were mistaken to be bells.  Finally, because her breasts were sometimes mistaken to be loaves of bread, it has been customary to bless bread on her feast day.

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Finally, I found Ernie Pyle

February 2, 2013

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here is your war coverYou’d think that as both a WWII junkie and a newspaper guy I’d have read Ernie Pyle before. I’ve read a few of the war correspondent’s columns in anthologies, but never the bulk of his work until I came across two of the three collections of his famed syndicated columns in book form at an antique store.

So, 70 years after Pyle sent his stories from North Africa back to the 300 newspapers who ran his stuff, I ate up “Here Is Your War.”

Pyle’s brisk newspaper prose, the short, tight sentences, the reader-friendly language, the storytelling format combined with the folksy, guy-next-door tone helped me understand why he became a legend both to soldiers, sailors and airmen and to mom and pop back home.

His great technique of identifying sources not just with their name and rank but with their street address back home — “The navigator was Lieutenant Davey Williams, 3505 Miller Street, Fort Worth, Texas.” — was not simply a feel-good for the man in uniform and a way to sell newspapers around the country but a tool that brought reality and truthfulness to the reporting Pyle did. These weren’t fictional characters fighting this war but real people, sons and daughters, neighbors, someone to care about.

Although flatly unable to write about strategy due to war-time censorship, Pyle doesn’t let that stop him from giving the folks at home an understanding of what life was like for those at war. A foxhole is a foxhole, and he doesn’t sugarcoat the drudgery, the terror of shells exploding nearby and especially the destruction and death war causes.

Yet, as good as all these columns are about the early portion of the U.S. involvement in World War II, it’s at the back of “Here Is Your War” that Pyle may have made his best contribution, and that’s not to slight all those earlier columns.

Because as the Allies pushed the Germans out of North Africa, Pyle is able to add analysis to the stories he shares, to give people back home a perspective on the war that might have been perfectly timed. Take this excerpt:
“In the final phase of the Tunisian campaign I never heard a word of criticism of our men. They fought like veterans. They were well handled. They had enough of what they needed. Everything meshed perfectly, and the end was inevitable. . . . Even though they didn’t do too well in the beginning, there was never at any time any question about the Americans’ bravey. It was a matter of being hardened and practiced by going through the flames. Tunisia was a good warm-up field for our armies. . . . The greatest disservice the folks at home did our men over here was to believe we were at last over the hump. For actually — and over here we all knew it — the worst was yet to come.”

Pyle’s columns from the war in Europe went into another book, “Brave Men,” that I’ll be searching for soon. He went to the Pacific Theater afterward, and his columns from there are collected in “Last Chapter.” That book, published posthumously, is just as good as the collection from North Africa, but much shorter. His stories of how an aircraft carrier got flights off — and on — are exactly the kind of reporting we see in the Twin Cities with the “Good Question” segments on the CBS affiliate, WCCO-TV.

This war the United States had been in for four years came to an end for Ernie Pyle just four months before the war itself was to end. A Japanese bullet found him in April, 1945.

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