December 28, 2011
The worldwide recession continued along its merry way, spreading unemployment, homelessness, and despair in its wake. In response (and partly inspired by their supposed colleagues in the Arab world), the Occupy movement set up camp in many of the country’s cities. Tellingly, Occupy San Fernando Valley was canceled after more reporters showed up than protesters; the Valley is a place people usually try to flee. Poignantly, Occupy LA‘s leaders were outraged by the homeless moving in to gorge on the free food, shelter, recreational drugs, and women.
The Republican Party paraded an extraordinary menagerie of presidential candidates. This election is theirs to lose, and I predict they will, thus giving John Boehner more reasons to cry. But Obama may yet prove he has what it takes to make whomever the Republicans nominate look good.
The obituary columns were flush as ever in 2011, but the fallen celebrity I will miss most is the avuncular Harry Morgan. And I suppose Christopher Hitchens has finally had his questions answered.
Pope Benedict XVI made some key appointments and decisions that will doubtless outlast his critics: He reinforced the legal status of the Tridentine Mass and saw the first Anglican ordinariate erected. He sent us Archbishop José Gómez, who has been a real breath of fresh air here in Los Angeles. The Chinese government continued to rebuff the Vatican and persecute the Church within its boundaries. In other religious news, the Dalai Lama renounced control of the Tibetan government-in-exile, while Mrs. Schori, the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, continued to tighten her control of that body.
I will spend New Year’s Eve at a local restaurant and then slither home for a late supper of black-eyed peas while watching Dinner for One on YouTube. Upon waking I’ll attend a Tridentine Mass, gobble an osechi brunch in Little Tokyo, and enjoy PBS’s broadcast of the annual Vienna concert. I wish you a happy 2012.