Update on Publications, Summer 2021

It’s long since time for me to mention the stories that magazines and anthologies have been kind enough to publish, and so I’ll indulge in a walk down publishing memory lane.

More or less in reverse order, here are my short story publications so far:

My story “Christmas in the Ruins”, a fictional account of Christmas in Freiburg in 1944, appeared as part of WMG Publishing’s Winter Holiday Spectacular 2020 e-calendar which is now (July 2021) available as e-book, https://www.wmgpublishinginc.com/project/the-holiday-spectacular-2/?fbclid=IwAR3aDnqqj39nWGQH3lK9LuVWYUq83ziFPws8O3OwMz32OEJyW-8UfpwtR78
and will be available in print in October, 2021

I wrote “It’s Lechtenbrink, Libby Lechtenbrink” for a science fiction writing workshop in January of 2020. My story features Libby Lechtenbrink, a librarian on Mars, one of my more homicidal alter egos. I am so grateful to Barbara G. Tarn for including me in this wonderful anthology, Sci-Fi Stories Earth Colonies, published in July, 2021. You can find the magazine, electronic or print, at all online bookstores, here a selection
https://books2read.com/sci-fi5

I wrote “We Can Wait But No Longer Want To” during Dean Wesley Smith’s story a week challenge in 2019 and 2020. Energetic Martian microbes take advantage of the opportunity to leave their frosty underground lakes. I am overjoyed to have it published July, 2021, in Alien Dimensions #20/21, a wonderful magazine available in electronic and print form.
amazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B097HMG6FK
amazon.de: https://www.amazon.de/Alien…/dp/B098VSSQGJ/ref=sr_1_2…

I wrote “If You Lead an Earthling to Water, Who Gets To Drink?” during Dean Wesley Smith’s story a week challenge in 2019 and 2020. Martian colonists have to deal with the dilemma of possibly endangering alien life in order to keep their Earth colony running. I am thrilled that Penumbric Speculative Fiction Magazine chose to publish it in its online magazine, Issue 1, June 2021:

https://www.penumbric.com/currentissue/rabeWater.html

During Dean Wesley Smith’s story a week challenge in 2019 and 2020 I wrote a story I titled “Herr Gehrke, Why Is Everyone Lying to Me?” that took place in an archdiocesan chancery office of a mid-sized German city. In the hopes that it would fit Blaze Ward Presents 5 Crime and …, which was published in June, 2021, I renamed it “Bishops”. I am incredibly grateful to Blaze Ward for accepting this story. Naturally it is completely fictional, but some of the characters are inspired by people I have known. The anthology is available at all your favorite online bookstores, to name a few

amazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B096CJPLMV/?tag=kydala-20

amazon.de: https://www.amazon.de/…/B096CYSG1Q/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0…

I wrote “Slim Pickings on Mars” for Dean Wesley Smith’s “Write 30 Stories in 60 Days Challenge” back in 2017. A detective on Mars literally stumbles onto an object at a crime scene that has multi-universal consequences. It was my immense good fortune that Blaze Ward was willing to accept it for his Blaze Ward Presents 4 anthology which was published in November, 2020. The anthology is available at all your favorite online bookstores, to name a few

amazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/Cloak-Dagger-Blaze-Ward/dp/B08NYYBPM2/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1626771787&sr=1-1

amazon.de: https://www.amazon.de/Cloak-Dagger-Blaze-Ward/dp/B08NYYBPM2/ref=sr_1_1?__mk_de_DE=%C3%85M%C3%85%C5%BD%C3%95%C3%91&dchild=1&keywords=blaze+ward+presents+4&qid=1626771873&s=books&sr=1-1

“Father Otto” is a story I wrote in 2016 for the 2017 Anthology Workshop in Lincoln City, Oregon. Thanks to kind editor Dayle A. Dermatis, it became my first professional sale, appearing in the Fiction River issue 33 Doorways to Enchantment, published in August, 2020. “Father Otto” is an homage to one of my favorite people at the chancery office of the Archdiocese of Freiburg. Naturally all figures are mere figments of my imagination, but inspired by real people. The story itself takes place on the second floor of the historic chancery office building in Freiburg, Germany.
It is available, electronic and print, at all online bookstores, here a selection:
https://books2read.com/u/4NLWMo and of course at WMG Publishing:
https://www.wmgpublishinginc.com/p…/doorways-to-enchantment/
Tangent Online wrote a kind review of my story:

Fiction River #33: Doorways to Enchantment, ed. Dayle A. Dermatis

“Sagan in the Past” is science fiction story I wrote for Dean Wesley Smith’s “Write 30 Stories in 60 Days Challenge” back in 2017. Sagan, a cat, plays an important role in a time-travel story that begins on a university campus that has certain similarities with Michigan State University. Barbara G. Tarn, was kind enough to include this story in her anthology Future Earth Tech. published in July, 2020.
You can find the magazine, electronic or print, at all online bookstores, here a selection:
https://books2read.com/sci-fi3

“Katie’s Visions” is also a product of Dean Wesley Smith’s “Write 30 Stories in 60 Days Challenge”, one I worried about finding a home for, since it isn’t science fiction. Maybe you could call it historical fantasy. Katharina von Bora (Martin Luther’s wife) gets visions from Joan of Arc who has her own agenda for wanting to encourage Katharina. The wonderful people at Propertius Press included this story in their anthology Whispers from the Universe, published in June, 2020. It is available, electronic and print, at most online stores but also easily at Propertius Press, which does not charge for postage or handling.
Go to: https://bit.ly/whisperstories or
https://propertiuspress.wixsite.com/bookstore/online-store/Whispers-from-the-Universe-A-Collection-of-Short-Stories-p209124441

“Taking Care of Business” is a science fiction story I wrote for Dean Wesley Smith’s “Write 30 Stories in 60 Days Challenge” back in 2017. An Elvis impersonator on Mars finds a way to deal with devastating health issues, consistent with his reverence for The King. Dean was then kind enough to include this story in Pulphouse, Issue 8 of 2019.published in December, 2020. You can find the magazine, electronic or print, at all online bookstores, here a selection
https://books2read.com/u/bO6gAQ
or naturally at WMG Publishing: https://pulphousemagazine.com/the-magazine/issue8/

Tangent Online reviewed this issue of Pulphouse: https://tangentonline.com/print-quarterly/pulphouse-fiction-magazine/pulphouse-8-fall-2019/

“For the Love of Killer” is another story I wrote in 2016 for the 2017 Anthology Workshop in Lincoln City, Oregon. Killer is a little, white peekapoo, inspired by Puffy, our dog on the farm. It wasn’t chosen for the anthology about female heroines, but Dean Wesley Smith was kind enough to take it for Pulphouse, Issue 4 of 2018, published in December, 2018 You can find the magazine, electronic or print, at all online bookstores, here a selection
https://books2read.com/u/47Z9aR?fbclid=IwAR0iZAracjT1yWQnMG4TGHIs0P_Sf58Udvmg_vDMldSEYbH-hkScaOaCAfU
or naturally at WMG Publishing: https://pulphousemagazine.com/the-magazine/issue4/

Tangent Online reviewed this issue of Pulphouse: https://tangentonline.com/print-quarterly/pulphouse-fiction-magazine/pulphouse-4-december-2018/

Russ Crossley was kind enough to include “Efficient Engineering”, a story I wrote for the anthology workshop in Lincoln City, Oregon, in 2017, in his Rocketpack Adventures anthology in October, 2018. An engineer on Mars decides to build her own rocket and leave for parts unknown. You can find the magazine, electronic or print, at all online bookstores, here a selection
https://books2read.com/rocketpack-adventures

“One Universe Is Never Enough” is a story I wrote Dean Wesley Smith’s “Write 30 Stories in 60 Days Challenge” back in 2017. An administrator on Pluto gets tired of the bureaucratic backbiting and takes a chance on travel to another universe. Barbara G. Tarn was kind enough to include it in her Space Opera Mashup. Published in July, 2018. You can find the magazine, electronic or print, at all online bookstores, here a selection
http://books2read.com/u/4AY5XN

Two  of my poems are still archived online:

Salt Water Rafting at Raven Electrick: http://www.ravenelectrick.com/ravenpoetrick/saltwaterrafting.html

Tharsis Lil at Astropoetica: http://www.astropoetica.com/Summer07/tharsislil.html

I have my author pages at amazon where you can see which stories of mine have been published so far:

amazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/Mary-Jo-Rabe/e/B007MMFCPM?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_2&qid=1598900121&sr=1-2

amazon.de: https://www.amazon.de/Mary-Jo-Rabe/e/B007MMFCPM?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_6&qid=1598900017&sr=1-6

amazon.co.uk: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mary-Jo-Rabe/e/B007MMFCPM?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_4&qid=1598900282&sr=1-4

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Oskar Saier: In memoriam et ad honorem, ein fantastisches Buch!

Ich schreibe wirklich nicht viele Buchrezensionen, aber manchmal gefällt mir ein Buch so gut, dass ich mein Urteil nicht für mich behalten kann.

„Oskar Saier. In memoriam et ad honorem“ von Wolfgang Sauer ist ein solches Buch.

Erzbischof Dr. Oskar Saier war der zweite Erzbischof von Freiburg, den ich während meiner Tätigkeit in der Ordinariatsbibliothek, später „Erzbischöfliche Bibliothek“ genannt, erlebte. Ich kannte ihn als interessierten, rücksichtsvollen, gelehrten Bibliotheksbenutzer, der meine Arbeit äußerst wertschätzte und dies mir immer wieder sagte. Er war einer der besten Freunde, den unsere Bibliothek je hatte, und hielt eine schützende Hand über die Bibliothek, wenn andere im Ordinariat sie lieber abgeschafft hätten.

Ich bin für dieses Buch von Wolfgang Sauer deshalb so dankbar, weil er mich mit Oskar Saier als Erzbischof und Privatmenschen bekannt macht. Wolfgang Sauer und Oskar Saier waren Freunde, geistliche Mitbrüder und unermüdliche „Arbeiter im Weinberg des Herrn“, beide als Priester: Dr. Saier als Erzbischof und Wolfgang Sauer als Domkapitular und Leiter der Abteilung Weltkirche.

In diesem absolut lesbaren und wirklich unterhaltsamen Buch erzählt Wolfgang Sauer zahlreiche Anekdoten aus der Zeit, in der er mit Oskar Saier zusammenarbeitete, immer mit dem theologischen und historischen Hintergrund, damit der Leser in die Gedankengänge von Oskar Saier kommt und versteht, warum er so gefühlt und gehandelt hat.

Für Historiker der Zukunft wird dieses Buch noch viel wertvoller sein als alle archivierten Dokumente und Akten. Durch dieses Buch lernt man Oskar Saier richtig kennen und, falls nicht längst schon geschehen, wertschätzen.

Die vielen, schönen Fotos von Erzbischof Saier und den Menschen, mit denen er es zu tun hatte, sind ein Genuss.

Meine Bewunderung für diesen lieben Erzbischof wuchs mit jeder Seite, die ich las.

Erzbischof Saier hatte Glück, dass er in Wolfgang Sauer einen so schriftstellerisch begabten Weggefährten hatte.

Also kann ich nur empfehlen: Kauf’ dieses Buch mehrmals, lese es und verschenke es! Sie tun damit sich und anderen ein sehr gutes Werk.

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Wonderful Ravens

I don’t write many book reviews, but sometimes I just like the book so much that I want to talk about it. Today the book is Beneath Raven’s Wing.

Beneath Raven’s Wing by Vonnie Winslow-Crist

Beneath Raven’s Wing is a wonderful assortment of immensely entertaining and satisfying short stories. When you start reading each one, you are drawn in and can’t leave until the story ends, which, however, is when you can’t keep from plunging into the next one. The writing is that good. Vonnie Winslow-Crist truly works magic with language.

In fascinating variety, all the stories have ravens, as active characters, as mysterious bystanders, or as a major element of the atmosphere. A young boy’s kindness to ravens is rewarded by their encouragement of his magic skills during difficult circumstances. A girl can transform into a raven to protect children from bullies. Ravens watch and protect a child of the moonlight as she saves her sister from trolls. An unkind man, given a choice of afterlives, chooses the worse possible. A man joins a vampire family, who can turn into ravens, to protect the woman he loves. A daughter brings her dead pirate father back to life as ravens watch. A raven augmented with mechanical parts must find his new home when his creator dies. A man uses the wishes a genie grants to make it happen that his long-since dead uncle found love before he died. With ravens in the background a young student dies from a snake bite despite warnings from deathwatch beetles. A shaman lures a discontented young man to his stone garden as a mate for his daughter. A raven watches both the car accident that kills Paul McCartney and the fate of the human witness. A modern undertaker is asked for fingernails and toenails that Norse gods need as ravens perch on Odin’s shoulders. With ravens in the background a vampire in ancient Egypt is reunited with his first love. Ravens caw as a girl meets an alien glob from Antarctica who leaves stones on her grave after she is killed in a traffic accident. A man notices that ravens always try to warn him; he helps undead boys get their revenge on his half-uncle who killed them. A guardian raven is able to protect a boy from a storm off the monastery Isle of Iona but worries that she won’t always be there for him.

Do yourself a favor and indulge in the pure pleasure of reading this book.

Posted in Beneath Raven's Wing | Tagged , | 4 Comments

Another wonderful Doodle book

“Ill-Served”, the number seven in Susan J. Kroupa’s delightful series of Doodle mysteries, successor to “Bed-Bugged”, “Out-Sniffed”, “Dognabbed”, “Bad-Mouthed”, “Ruff-Housed”, and “Mis-Chipped”, is absolutely wonderful! It’s entertaining, thoughtful, informative, and a book you can’t put down whether you are eight years old or closer to eighty.

Doodle is a shrewd and compassionate Labradoodle, part Labrador retriever, part poodle. He works as a bedbug detective for his “boss” Josh who insists that Doodle is an employee and not a pet, but often lets himself be inveigled into showing Doodle the affection more consistent with a pet arrangement.

The person who has this influence on Josh is his eleven-year-old daughter Molly. For Molly, Doodle is a reliable friend. However, she is aware of the issues her father worries about, generally financial, and Doodle picks up on the emotional stress both of them experience.

In “Ill-Served”, Molly and her friends notice dangers presented by (fortunately) stupid but nonetheless dangerous criminals. These include perpetrators of scams with supposed therapy dogs and an older woman’s entitled adult son of who wants to steal his mother’s assets.

The clueless adults don’t recognize all the problems immediately, being preoccupied with their own challenges. Josh is organizing a move to a new house before his wedding. Cori, Josh’s first wife and Molly’s mother, has professional stress as a police officer and personal stress with the health problems of aging relatives.

And so, Molly and her friends have to set about stopping the criminals. They succeed by taking the initiative but then confiding in the adults who show themselves to be surprisingly competent when the kids give them the opportunity. It turns out that communication among the generations solves almost every problem.

Doodle, as usual, immediately recognizes everything that is going on and comments accordingly. He notes that human beings miss out on so much due to their inadequate sense of smell. According to Doodle’s assessment, dogs are also simply smarter than people. Unfortunately, he can’t communicate this knowledge directly to the human people who are his family. He can’t even give them tips about the homeless kitten they rescue.

Additional problems include Josh’s search for a house he can afford. Molly has to come to terms with changes in her life that she actually likes but which also stress her out, like her father’s marriage to Annie and moving to the neighborhood of her best friend Tanya. Molly, Josh, and Molly’s mother Cori also make every effort to care for their family relationships. Cori and Josh are long since divorced and have made their peace with each other. Josh has found love with Annie, a dog trainer whom he will marry. Josh, Cori, and Annie do their very best for Molly.

Susan J. Kroupa is a masterful writer. She not only creates a logical, believable, thrilling crime story. Without even noticing it consciously, readers gain valuable information about therapy dogs, stroke victims, and potential victims of elder abuse. Susan J. Kroupa is also at the cutting edge when it comes to current information about care of dogs.

So this book has everything for every reader. It is fun to read and gives readers of every age food for thought. Do yourself and every reader you know a favor and buy this book for yourself and others. It is almost too good to be true.

Then do yourself a favor and go back and buy, read, and enjoy the previous six books.

Posted in dogs, Doodlebugged Mysteries, Susan J. Kroupa | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

My publications

It’s long since time for me to mention the stories that magazines and anthologies have been kind enough to publish in the past months.

“Taking Care of Business” is a science fiction story I wrote for Dean Wesley Smith’s “Write 30 Stories in 60 Days Challenge” back in 2017. An Elvis impersonator on Mars finds a way to deal with devastating health issues, consistent with his reverence for The King. Dean was then kind enough to include this story in Pulphouse, Issue 8 of  2019. You can find the magazine, electronic or print, at all online bookstores, here a selection
https://books2read.com/u/bO6gAQ
or naturally at WMG Publishing: https://pulphousemagazine.com/the-magazine/issue8/

“Sagan in the Past” is another science fiction story I wrote for this challenge. Sagan, a cat, plays an important role in a time-travel story that begins on a university campus that has certain similarities with Michigan State University. Barb Giorgi, aka Barbara G. Tarn, was kind enough to include this story in her anthology Future Earth Tech.
You can find the magazine, electronic or print, at all online bookstores, here a selection:
https://books2read.com/sci-fi3

“Katie’s Visions” is also a product of this challenge, one I worried about finding a home for, since it isn’t science fiction. Maybe you could call it historical fantasy. Katharina von Bora (Martin Luther’s wife) gets visions from Joan of Arc who has her own agenda for wanting to encourage Katharina. The wonderful people at Propertius Press included this story in their anthology Whispers from the Universe. It is available, electronic and print, at most online stores but also easily at Propertius Press, which does not charge for postage or handling, even on international orders.
Go to: https://bit.ly/whisperstories or
https://propertiuspress.wixsite.com/bookstore/online-store/Whispers-from-the-Universe-A-Collection-of-Short-Stories-p209124441

“Father Otto” is a story I wrote in 2016 for the 2017 Anthology Workshop in Lincoln City, Oregon. Thanks to kind editor Dayle A. Dermatis, it became my first professional sale to the Fiction River issue 33 Doorways to Enchantment. “Father Otto” is an homage to one of my favorite people at the chancery office of the Archdiocese of Freiburg. Naturally all figures are mere figments of my imagination, but inspired by real people. The story itself takes place on the second floor of the historic chancery office building in Freiburg, Germany.
It is available, electronic and print, at all online bookstores, here a selection:
https://books2read.com/u/4NLWMo and of  course at WMG Publishing:
https://www.wmgpublishinginc.com/p…/doorways-to-enchantment/
Tangent Online wrote a kind review of my story:

Fiction River #33: Doorways to Enchantment, ed. Dayle A. Dermatis

I have my author pages at amazon:

amazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/Mary-Jo-Rabe/e/B007MMFCPM?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_2&qid=1598900121&sr=1-2

amazon.de: https://www.amazon.de/Mary-Jo-Rabe/e/B007MMFCPM?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_6&qid=1598900017&sr=1-6

amazon.co.uk: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mary-Jo-Rabe/e/B007MMFCPM?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_4&qid=1598900282&sr=1-4

 

 

Posted in Fiction River, Future Earth Tech, Mary Jo Rabe, Propertius Press, Pulphouse, Stories | Tagged | Leave a comment

Book Review Tule Fog Tales, Issue One

Hoping to reactivate my blog, I have another book review to post. I don’t write many reviews, but sometimes I like a book well enough.

Tule Fog Tales, Issue One

Lyndon Perry’s collection of speculative short stories, published by Tule Fog Press, is a pure delight, a welcome place where you can smile, reflect, and then hope. The stories, ranging from science fiction to fantasy to things in between, are more than mere entertainment. They offer a reason to feel optimistic about the world we live in.

As an insecure teenager, a Teenage Mutant Ninja Nobody comes to accept herself and others.

In Making Worf Proud a bullied young kid finds a way to thwart his foes with the help of Klingon lore.

The Memory Dish deals with the pain of loss in a sensitive and life-affirming manner.

An Astral Advent provides a bright, science fiction take on the Christmas story.

Casting a Vampire is the logical extrapolation of encounters with the undead.

Tucker & Mr. Chilly describes how a mysterious cat took charge and improved its owner’s life, actually gave him a life worth living.

This compilation is a gift people should grant themselves, a way to feel justifiably cheerful even when life circumstances would encourage the opposite.

Buy this collection, enjoy it, and recommend it to others!

Posted in Lyndon Perry, Stories, writers | Tagged | Leave a comment

Sodoma: In the Closet of the Vatican. Power, Homosexuality, Hypocrisy, by Frédéric Martel

I really, really don’t have time to write any book reviews at the moment, but sometimes books are so good that I can’t keep my reaction to myself. This book is excellent; I will remain eternally grateful to my friend Christine for recommending it to me.

I like the English-language title more than the original French. It is an excellent summary of what to expect from the book, in which order of importance the elements are dealt with. Most of all, Frédéric Martel exposes just how power works in the Vatican, who has or had the power to do what and how this power is/was used. Not homosexuality itself, but the way the Catholic Church chooses to define it is the second most powerful element of this book; it explains so much, for example providing convincing arguments as to why bishops and cardinals didn’t react correctly to reports of sexual abuse of children. However, Frédéric Martel does not use this book as an opportunity to out anyone. The hypocrisy to be found in the Vatican is, last and perhaps least, the topic that will perhaps arouse the most rage and fury.

If you have any interest in the Vatican at all, you need to read this book. Frédéric Martel did the research, and the research is impeccable; the claims are documented many times over. More importantly, he drew the obvious and logical conclusions from the evidence, conclusions that many church leaders prefer to ignore or even repress. He has convincing explanations for events and decisions that puzzle everyone outside the Vatican.

This isn’t a reassuring book; on the contrary, it makes you seriously wonder if the Vatican, as it exists in its current form today, isn’t the biggest obstacle to or even biggest enemy of the Catholic faith.

Frédéric Martel doesn’t name that many names; he isn’t interested in outing people. He just describes how the inability of the Vatican to come to terms with the reality of homosexuality results in damaging behavior, in fear, hypocrisy, dishonesty, in downright unchristian behavior and actions.

I wasn’t upset by the descriptions of decadent behavior, although it does sound as if the goings-on at many Vatican parties would have even made a Freddie Mercury blush. However the descriptions of how so many cardinals, not just Italian, also American, live in exorbitantly luxurious opulence in Rome did arouse feelings of rage, fury, and plain old disgust in me. These bishops and cardinals didn’t “earn” the money they are throwing away on themselves. The Church’s money should be used to care for the poor. You’re not going to find much support in the New Testament for how these bishops and cardinals take advantage of the power to be had in and from the Vatican.

Frédéric Martel researched and fully documented all the facts he presented. They are what they are, and his conclusions are irrefutable.

More significantly, he recognized the truth behind the facts; his judgment of people’s character is impeccable.

I can vouch for his description and interpretation of Archbishop Gänswein. Frédéric Martel only made the slight geographical mistake of claiming that Georg Gänswein is Bavarian. Archbishop Gänswein is indeed many things, just not a Bavarian. The mistake came perhaps from the fact that Georg Gänswein studied canon law in Munich for several years and from the fact that he is a frequent and welcome guest in Regensburg, with the Ratzinger family and Princess Gloria von Thurn and Taxis. For many people outside Germany, southern Germany only consists of Bavaria. (Not true, by the way. There is also Baden-Württemberg.)

I, for my part, will claim to be a former colleague of Archbishop Gänswein’s. From 1994 to 1995 he also worked at the archdiocesan chancery office in Freiburg. He “delegated” many of his tasks to the employees in the library. Those of us who worked in the chancery office at that time know Archbishop Gänswein very well, and none of us will ever forget him. Frédéric Martel’s insight into Archbishop Gänswein’s character is exactly right.

Alone the description of the Dr. Georg Gänswein’s bishop’s consecration in Rome is worth the entire price of the book.

I have followed the career of Princess Gloria von Thurn and Taxis, whom Frédéric Martel affectionately (at least in the English translation) gives the nickname Gloria TNT, ever since the 1970’s and am very well acquainted with how her mind works, only surprised that she turned out to be such a financial genius. It is no surprise that other frequent guests to her castle in Regensburg include Steve Bannon and his ilk.  Continue reading

Posted in Archbishop Dr. Georg Gänswein, Frédéric Martel, Homosexuality in the Vatican, Vatican | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Mis-Chipped ― Another fantastic read

Again, I really don’t have time to write book reviews at the moment, but sometimes the books are too good, and I can’t stop myself.

“Mis-Chipped”, the number six in the delightful series of Doodle mysteries, successor to Susan J. Kroupa’s “Bed-Bugged”, “Out-Sniffed”, “Dognabbed”, “Bad-Mouthed”, and “Ruff-Housed”, is entertaining, thoughtful, and a book you can’t put down!

“Mis-Chipped” is as important as it is fun.

Doodle, the skilled, perceptive, and tolerant Labradoodle, more poodle than Labrador, once again observes and comments on the often incomprehensible actions of those around him. People are simply not as astute or logical as dogs, much to Doodle’s confusion and dismay.

His employer Josh has built his bedbug-detection service around Doodle’s skill at sensing the presence of bedbugs. Josh has come to terms with the separation from his first wife and is now ready for a new relationship with Annie, a dog trainer.

Molly, Josh’s daughter, is again concerned with the welfare of dogs she meets and goes all out to protect them from both evil and clueless adults. As usual she makes mistakes and has to find clever but dangerous ways to remedy them.

This time she discovers problems with chipping one’s dog to make it identifiable and runs into a larcenous photography teacher who puts all her students down. Her mother, Cori, a police officer, helps collect proof against the criminals. Madison Green, a journalist friend known from previous books and Grady’s mother, also comes to Molly’s assistance when Molly wants to rescue her friend Grady’s dog.

This is an exciting book, full of useful information for those who aren’t as familiar with the world of dogs or with dog flyball or with chipping pets. Perhaps more importantly, it is also truthful in its description of human relationships, not sugar-coating any problems but offering a hopeful optimism that everything can turn out all right at the end. Kids are able to persuade clueless adults to listen to them.

This is a book for everyone, of all ages, whether living with or without housepets. It is thrilling and heartwarming, entertaining and comforting, while at the same time informative and optimistic. Do yourself a favor! Buy this book, read this book, and then buy it for others and tell them to read it.

 

 

Posted in dogs, Doodlebugged Mysteries, Susan J. Kroupa | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Dr. Christian Heß: Max Josef Metzger

Ich schreibe nicht viele Buchbesprechungen, weil ich einfach die Zeit dafür nicht nehmen will. Aber manchmal gefällt mir ein Buch so gut, dass ich meine Gedanken doch verbreiten möchte. Also, meine Gedanken zu:

Christian Heß: “Ohne Christus, ohne tiefstes Christentum ist Krieg”. Die Christkönigsthematik als Leitidee im kirchlich-gesellschaftlichen Engagement Max Josef Metzgers.

Dieses Buch ist so gut. Vor allem ist es sehr, sehr gut geschrieben. Komplizierte Vorgänge, komplexe Ideen und Vorstellungen werden so anschaulich und begreiflich erklärt, dass jeder sie verstehen kann. Der Leser braucht weder Theologe noch Historiker zu sein um dieses Buch zu schätzen. Der Inhalt des Buches ist für jeden zugänglich. Herr Dr. Heß hat alles bis auf das letzte Detail recherchiert und dann die Vorgänge mit einer zugleich gelehrten wie unterhaltsamen Sprache beschrieben.

Der Leser hat das Gefühl, alles, besonders Ursache und Wirkung, zu verstehen und will immer weiterlesen, weil das Buch so spannend geschrieben ist.

Es ist schon viel über Max Josef Metzger geschrieben, sein Seligsprechungsverfahren läuft ja, aber dieses Buch von Herrn Dr. Heß ist wichtiger als die anderen, weil es die Grundmotivation von Max Josef Metzger, die durch sein ganzes Erwachsenenleben hindurch zog, erklärt und sie verständlich macht.

Max Josef Metzger war Priester, Militärpfarrer dann Pazifist, Ökumeniker, Vegetarier, Antialkoholiker, Choleriker, Esperanto-Fan, Naziregimegegner und Märtyrer. Er hatte viele Leidenschaften und war ein komplizierter, komplexer Mensch. Er war hoch intelligent und gebildet aber oft fehlte ihm den gesunden Menschenverstand, er war oft naiv, ganz ohne “street smarts”.

Heute käme man in Versuchung zu vermuten, er sei einfach ADHS gewesen, jemand, der sich immer wieder spontan und schnell für etwas Neues begeistert, aber damit würde man ihm Unrecht tun. Durch mächtige Recherchen hat Herr Dr. Heß den Faden gefunden, der durch das Leben Max Josef Metzgers ein Leben lang geführt hat.

Herr Dr. Heß zeigt, dass die Idee, die Max Josef Metzger durch alle Lebensabschnitte geführt hat, war Vorstellung, Bedeutung und Konsequenz aus der Christkönigtheologie. Nach der Katastrophe des Ersten Weltkriegs war es für Max Josef Metzger klar, dass die Herrschaft von Menschen nicht imstande sei, Krieg und Leid zu verhindern. Im Gegenteil: Im Ersten Weltkrieg gerade am Hartmannsweilerkopf, wo Max Josef Metzger eingesetzt war, haben deutsche Katholiken und französische Katholiken sich gegenseitig Tag für Tag hingemetzelt, und das völlig umsonst. Dies könne nicht mit der Lehre Christi im Einklang gebracht werden. Also sei die Herrschaft Jesu die einzige Rettung für die Menschheit. Also wurde die Christkönigtheologie zum Kern des Wesens des Max Josef Metzgers.

Herr Dr. Heß hat erkannt, dass diese Christkönigtheologie heutzutage relativ unbekannt oder gar bei vielen eher unbegreiflich ist. Daher, um Max Josef Metzger richtig zu verstehen, muss man zuerst wissen, was Christkönigtheologie eigentlich ist. Diese Theologie hat nämlich eine lange, eher komplizierte Geschichte, angefangen mit der Entstehung des Christkönigsfestes.

Wir Leser haben es der Schreibkunst von Herrn Dr. Heß zu verdanken, dass dieses Thema so brillant begreiflich und wirklich unterhaltsam erläutert wird. Er beschreibt auf sehr spannende Art wie Ereignisse der politischen Geschichte und der Kirchengeschichte aufeinander prallten, natürlich mit den üblichen Missverständnissen und Abzweigungen. Längst nicht alle Kleriker und Bischöfe konnten etwas mit dem Christkönigfest anfangen, aber ab 1925 gab es dieses Fest, und die dazugehörige Theologie entwickelte sich weiter.

Durch diese so überschaubare Beschreibung kann man dann nachvollziehen, wie diese Christkönigtheologie für Max Josef Metzger zur Antwort auf menschliche Probleme auf Erde wurde.

Bei jedem Lebensabschnitt sieht man in diesem Buch, wie es Max Josef Metzger klar wurde, dass die Menschheit nur Christus als Herrscher folgen dürfe. Menschen verursachen oder dulden Kriege; Christus rufe zum Frieden auf. Menschen erlauben sich Konfessionsquerelen; Christus rufe einfach zur Nachfolge auf, ohne Rücksicht auf Konfession. Vielen Menschen gehe es wirtschaftlich und sozial schlecht; Christen sollen auf Dinge verzichten, die dieses Unrecht begünstigen, wie Alkohol oder Fleisch. Verständnis zwischen den Völkern werde durch Sprachprobleme verursacht oder verstärkt; eine Einheitssprache sei notwendig, damit kein Volk Vorteile durch seine Sprache erhält. Da Latein nicht mehr dazu fähig sei, müsse Esperanto her.

Max Josef Metzger war letzten Endes ein Visionär, überzeugt davon, dass wenn alle Menschen die Königsherrschaft Jesu akzeptieren würden, zumindest Friede auf Erden möglich wäre.

Jetzt läuft sein Heiligsprechungs-, bzw. Seligsprechungsprozess. Viele vom Vatikan als heilig anerkannte Menschen haben ein einziges Ziel vor Augen gehabt, eine feste Überzeugung, die ihnen die Kraft gab, so zu wirken. Ob eine solche Überzeugung zu haben dann der Vorbildfunktion gut tut, darüber lässt sich natürlich streiten.

Dr. Heß zeigt Fall für Fall, Ereignis für Ereignis, wie diese Christkönigtheologie Max Josef Metzger inspiriert und geführt hat. Dadurch schreibt er die spannendste Biografie von Max Josef Metzger, die es gibt.

Am Ende bleibt Max Josef Metzger ein Visionär, seiner Zeit ziemlich voraus. Als Naziregimegegner bleibt er unumstritten, ein Märtyrer und Held. Als Ökumeniker war er seiner Zeit weit, weit voraus, aber die katholische Kirche hat sich in seine Richtung bewegt. Inzwischen sehen viele christliche Konfessionen den Weltfrieden als etwas Gottgewolltes. Als Vegetarier und Antialkoholiker war Max Josef Metzger auch seiner Zeit voraus, aber die meisten, die diese Überzeugung teilen, könnten mit einer Christkönigherrschaft nicht viel anfangen. Esperanto, mit seiner eurozentrischen Ausrichtung, wird auch kaum noch eine Rolle spielen, wenn es um Verständnis unter den Völkern geht. Und die Vorstellung, dass die Menschheit insgesamt einer Christkönigherrschaft unterwerfen würde, ist heute auch nicht mehr wahrscheinlich.

Also bleibt die Geschichte eines gläubigen Menschen, der eine theologische Antwort auf die Nöte der Menschheit gefunden hat und versucht hat diese Antwort in seinem Wirken zu realisieren. Und diese Geschichte ist im Buch von Herrn Dr. Heß perfekt geschrieben.

Es lohnt sich sehr, dieses Buch zu lesen, weil es so gut und interessant und spannend geschrieben ist. Nach dieser Lektüre kommt der Leser dann unaufhörlich auf Gedanken, zum Beispiel, dass theologische Ideen durchaus Antworten auf menschliche Probleme bieten können, auch wenn solche Antworten weder perfekt noch von ewiger Dauer sind.

Mary Jo Rabe

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Rest in peace, Dr. Bechtold.

There are many wonderful tributes to Dr. Otto Bechtold.

for example (all in German):

from Father Wolfgang Sauer, http://www.wosauer.de/Gedenken_Otto_Bechtold.pdf?fbclid=IwAR2huHRK3Q9CLWIj0Ex7EdxI_na-dTAzMzFpApvbWIyy6zoO3UX4AdRydpc

from the Archdiocese of Freiburg, https://www.ebfr.de/html/aktuell/aktuell_aktuell_u.html?&m=19718&artikel=105212&cataktuell=955

from the Konradsblatt (weekly diocesan magazine of the Archdiocese of Freiburg), https://www.konradsblatt.de/html/aktuell/aktuell_aktuell_u.html?&m=25180&cataktuell=&artikel=105229&stichwort_aktuell=&default=true

My thoughts, on the other hand, are certainly neither extensive enough nor adequate nor probably even worthy of the man. My memories are limited yet heartfelt. When I remember Dr. Bechtold, the first thing that comes to mind is that he was a consistently kind and good man, honest, helpful, and humble. These qualities are rare enough in the general population, but Dr. Bechtold was a “higher-up” in administration of the Archdiocese of Freiburg, where such qualities were indeed exceptional.

In his 45 years in the chancery office, Dr. Bechtold was in charge of two important departments in the chancery office, the finance department and the department of buildings and properties before becoming vicar general of the Archdiocese of Freiburg from 1988 through 2003. For those not completely up on Catholic jargon, the bishop or archbishop of a diocese is like the chairman of the board and the vicar general like the CEO, i.e. the one in charge of managing the whole organization.

I first worked in the archdiocesan archives in 1973 to 1974 and was a librarian in the archdiocesan library from 1976 to 2016. Dr. Bechtold was an enormously popular and extremely considerate library user.

It’s still hard to know where to start. I miss Dr. Bechtold. He left us far too soon (though he was almost 91 when he died in January). So I’ll begin with the obvious: Dr. Otto Bechtold was one of the good guys, one of the genuinely and thoroughly good inhabitants of this planet.

He made it his business to know everything that went on in the chancery office but never acted like a bombastic know-it-all. He always assumed that people knew what they were doing and that they would try to do their best at their jobs. However, I remember a few specific occasions when he stepped in after the personnel department made yet another deplorably wrong-headed decision (details about these and other memories will provide material for future blogs) and simply said, “No, we won’t do that.”

He was always available as the last level of appeals in the very top-heavy bureaucratic structure that was the chancery office. In the 1990’s when the person (feel free to supply your own epithets; I certainly have mine) in charge of all computer activity in the chancery office (a responsibility he took on with the justification that he had a computer at home) only allowed the library a daisy-wheel printer that barely had enough memory to print one and a half single-spaced pages, Dr. Bechtold, my last hope, somehow persuaded said individual to grant us a functional printer.

When Dr. Bechtold learned that my mother had been diagnosed with cancer, he came into the library and said that he would pray for her.

He attended every company trip and went on the strenuous “long” hikes, even only eight months after getting new heart valves.

He had hoped to retire in 2001, but when Archbishop Saier retired in 2002, Dr. Bechtold had to stay on until the new archbishop could name his own vicar general, which didn’t happen until late 2003.

His calm, tolerant, and benevolent presence in the chancery office was sorely missed. But I continued to hear from him. I worked on “Dialog”, the company magazine, and after every issue, Dr. Bechtold called to say how much he liked it. I sent people Christmas form letters and form letters from the U.S. throughout the years, and Dr. Bechtold never failed to call and thank me for the letters. He called to thank me for every birthday greeting, even after I had retired.

At the funeral Mass for Dr. Bechtold, Archbishop Stephan Burger read some messages Dr. Bechtold had placed in his will and requested to be read. Dr. Bechtold wanted everyone to know how grateful he was for all the kind help he had received throughout the years and wanted to apologize to anyone he might have neglected or disappointed. This was so typical for him; even after death he wanted to continue to comfort and help people.

Dr. Bechtold’s religious convictions weren’t any kind of in-your-face proselytizing. Rather, he lived for and through his beliefs. As long as it was physically possible for him, he said Mass every day, either in the cathedral or in nursing homes. He always saw himself as a simple priest trying to do the best he could for God and the people entrusted to him. Occasionally you could see him physically wince when someone wished him a “good weekend”. He preferred wishes for a “blessed Sunday”, since Sunday was the highpoint of the week for him.

With all the babble about training people to help them develop leadership qualities, more and more I’m convinced that the really good leaders are born and not educated. In my humble opinion Dr. Bechtold was the best possible manager, if not the perfect manager. Despite all his responsibilities for a huge organization (In Germany both the Catholic churches and the Protestant churches have large amounts of money at their disposal due to the government-collected church tax. Large amounts of money result in large bureaucratic structures), Dr. Bechtold was unfailingly kind and considerate in his dealings with everyone. Without exception he gave every employee the feeling that he was valued and respected, probably because Dr. Bechtold did value and respect every individual he ever met.

I am very skeptical about the value of canonization, naming saints, especially considering the no-longer-credible demand for verified, medical miracles. However, when you have the vastly good fortune of encountering someone like Dr. Otto Bechtold, you do begin to see a certain value in naming role models, giving credit where credit is due. If anyone I ever met deserved to be considered a modern saint, it was Dr. Bechtold.

Rest in peace, Dr. Bechtold. You made your part of the world a better and kinder place.

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