Tag, you’re it, the extreme way

The Wall Street Journal had a great story last week about an unconventional game of tag that a group of friends from Gonzaga Preparatory School in Spokane, Wash., have been playing since they were in high school, and revived in an extreme way a few years after they graduated in 1983.

Each February the game is revived and whoever is “it” at the end of the month remains “it” for the rest of the year. As the men’s careers have taken them away from Washington, they’ve gone to sometimes extraordinary measures to make sure someone else is “it” when the clock runs out.

Over the years, some of the players fanned out around the country—which curbed the action but raised the stakes. At one point, Chris Ammann was living in Boston. So Mr. Konesky dipped into his frequent-flier miles and crossed the country on the last weekend of the month. He spent the next two days in the bushes outside Mr. Ammann’s apartment, sitting in his friend’s favorite bar or driving up and down his street. Mr. Ammann never showed. Mr. Konesky was “it” for the year.

“I felt bad,” says Mr. Ammann, who went out of town for the weekend. “I think I would have sacrificed getting tagged to spend some time with him.”

Having the resources of successful middle-aged men means wives, co-workers and vacation plans are involved in the annual quest to avoid getting tagged. One team member, a priest now living in Helena, Mont., faces special challenges:

Mr. Konesky, a tech-company manager, is now “it” again and has had 11 months to stew. With February approaching, he has been batting around a few plans of attack. He says he likes to go after people who haven’t been “it” for a while. That includes Father Raftis, who has been harder to reach since he moved to Montana but who, as several players pointed out, is a sitting duck on Sundays.

“Once I step foot outside the rectory, all bets are off,” the priest says. “I have to be a little more careful.”

Perhaps Father Sean Raftis will be spending an unusual amount of time — on an unpredictable schedule — at his parish’s missions this month.

The pope’s “most important discourse”

By Robert Duncan
Catholic News Service

Dominican Father Wojciech Giertych is charged with proofing all of the speeches and texts submitted to Pope Benedict XVI to ensure they are free of doctrinal error. As theologian of the papal household, he plays a key role in the teaching mission of the pope.

In a recent interview with Catholic News Service, Father Giertych singled out Pope Benedict’s 2005 speech to the Roman Curia, a group of the pope’s closest collaborators, as the most important speech the pope has delivered in his pontificate. In that address, the pope said that the only correct understanding of the Second Vatican Council is one in continuity with the church’s perennial tradition.

Father Giertych also spoke about the debate taking place among historians regarding the correct interpretation of the council’s decisions.

One book that made waves in Italy in recent years was Roberto de Mattei’s Concilio Vaticano II: Una Storia Mai Scritta (The Second Vatican Council: An Unwritten Story). Mattei’s history of the council was an Italian P.E.N. literary award finalist in 2011.

“He’s a historian who brings in a wealth of detail that was unknown, and I think that is done very seriously,” Father Giertych said,”but he interprets the council through a key, comparing it to the French Revolution”.

According to Mattei, in 1789, the French Estates-General was called in Paris and a small group of representatives “hijacked” the general assembly’s proceedings, Father Giertych said.

“Mattei seems to interpret what happened at Vatican II with this interpretative key,” Father Giertych said, meaning “a small group (of bishops) from northern Europe imposed their agenda at the council”.

“Maybe historically it is true,” Father Gierych said, because each council is located in a certain historical and geographical context. That means some “groups” are going to have more power and influence than others, he explained.

Nevertheless, the pope’s theologian said “we need to see the hand of the Holy Spirit working through even these human maneuverings”.

To learn more about the day-to-day proceedings and what actually happened on the floor of the Second Vatican Council, check out our blog Vatican II: 50 years ago today.

Robert Duncan is a multimedia journalist in the Catholic News Service Rome bureau.

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