Sep 182014

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.


by Anura Guruge

Related posts:
>> “John XXIII”: 4 star review by ‘Vine Voice’
>> “John XXIII”: #12 for Church Leaders
>> Just approved paperback version
>> “Pope John XXIII: 101 Facts & Trivia Book”
>> “John XXIII”: Gilford Library

++++ Check Category “Books” for more posts >>>>




This is a different, unusual, “Guruge-special” look at certain aspects of papal history.

There has been so much written and said about the current pope, Francis (#267), but do you know:

— who owned the Fisherman’s Ring that he now wears
(and NO, it was not a prior pope)?

— what pet he had when he was a seminarian in his twenties?
— where he stayed in Rome ahead of attending the conclave
that elected him pope?

— the ailment, other than his lung ‘problem’, that has afflicted
him since his youth?

— the ‘rubber band’ story that would make Gandhi smile?

OK. So that is the kind of slant this book takes, the obscure, unexplored and stuff that requires computer-aided analytics (my forte).

So some other examples:

— what was the very first Canon approved by an Ecumenical Council
(and it will blow you away)?

— who was the first pope, as pope, to attend an Ecumenical Council?
— what is the, unequivocally, the first recorded date in papal history?
— who was the recent pope born on Holy Saturday?
— what conclave had the youngest electorate?
— when was the last time a cardinal died within a conclave?

101 Q&As in total and at least 202, probably close to 300, nuggets of information as I tried, as I did in my prior two ‘101: Facts & Trivia‘ books, to include two, if not more, nuggets of data in each bullet.

This is a book that has been rattling in my head ever since I started doing papal research, in earnest, eight years ago. There is so much depth and breadth, not to mention the sheer volume, when it comes to papal history. I typically can’t go more than 30-minutes at a time when I am crunching through my research without going ‘Wow, fancy that’ or ‘I wonder …’. This book is the result of just ‘101’ of those ‘fancy that’ and ‘I wonder’ moments. [I had started a ‘1,001’ version of this but realized that that was even too ambitious by my standards.] In my mind I already have some of “Popes: 101 Facts & Trivia Vol. II” done. But, it has to wait. My plan is to write two ‘101’ books about sex next! Everybody tells me that sex sells and I know as much about sex, if not more, than I known of popes. Yes, I could write, without too much effort “Sex Lives of Popes: 101 Facts & Trivia” — and I might still do that. But what I have in mind for the next two books will, I think, be more exciting. That said, I tried to sneak in a quick book on the ‘College of Cardinals’ while this book was being proofed. But the two friends, one a retired judge and the other a civil servant in D.C., were too quick for me. They turned it around in less than a week. But, I still got quite a bit done of that book too. Now the challenge is NOT to go back to that BUT to start on the sex books — as soon as I get the paperback version done.

Yep. It is never ending.

So, now for the inevitable demographics:
my 3rd ‘101: Facts & Trivia’ book.
my 9th book on popes.
my 2nd book, published, in 2014.

my 22nd book as the sole-author.

Fragment of the Excel spreadsheet I compiled while doing my research into the 21 Ecumenical Councils.
This was so much fun.
So much data that I was able to extract.

Click to ENLARGE.


Apr 082014

… ..

by Anura Guruge

Anura Guruge Good Pope John XXIII book for canonization.Related posts:
>> 2nd Sinhalese New Year 2014 post
>> Apr. 4, 2014.
>> 1st Sinhalese New Year 2014 post
Mar. 21, 2014.
>> Google Doodle For Sri Lanka
>> Independence Day
— Jan. 26, 2013.

Anura Guruge Good Pope John XXIII book for April 27 canonization.

Click to access details.

Well, Amazon gives all of Kindle authors five free days per book to use as we like. But, they are very strict about it. 5 days and only 5 days. can’t have more.

I don’t have a problem giving my books out for free. I don’t make any money from my books (maybe because I price them at costs and then try to give them away for free). The joy, to me, is in the writing. The other day, kind of knowing that it may be an exercise in sheer futility, I tried to give up writing. After about 6 hours I broke out in a cold sweat and had heart palpitations. I had to write. So, I am working another ‘101’ book. They are all fun. This fun I am trying to have even more fun than usual. “Popes: 101 Facts & Trivia”.

Though I write about it with gusto, I really don’t celebrate Sinhalese New Year and have not for nearly 20 years. Sadly, I celebrate the Chinese New Year more than do the Sinhalese. I really don’t know Sri Lankans around here and the few I kind of know in Massachusetts, quite rightly, treat me like a pariah. I don’t blame them.

Anyway, the Kindle eBook of the Good Pope, two weeks prior to his much deserved canonization, will be free. Doubt whether anyone in Sri Lanka will bother to get it — though there is a fairly healthy Catholic population over there, including our very own cardinal, the ‘Tanned Ratzinger‘. I really didn’t have any dealings with the Ceylon Catholic church per se when I was growing up. It was a very inclusive, polyreligious society and I, of course, interacted with Catholics and visited Catholic schools. Might even have gone to a church or two. I have heard that the Catholic church, in Ceylon, tried to kidnap me twice c. 1964. But, I think they were threats rather than real attempts because I don’t ever remember any incidents. Yes, I do recall being asked to report to the Principals office one day — out of the blue. A ‘peon’ from the office came to get me. I went into the Principal’s office. He asked me if I was ‘OK’. I said yes, since nothing had happened other than me being summoned by him. I gathered, afterwards, that I had been summoned because a threat had been received. Yes, I do remember the occasional police escort. Well, if they tried to kidnap me they didn’t do a very good job.

A Sri Lankan woman offers prayers as a pAll of that is history.

New Year will be next Monday. ‘Old Year‘ will the day before — April 13, 2014. I am doing my first (of four) “John XXIII” presentations that day — at the Taylor Community in Laconia (N.H.). From what I remember you are supposed to take a bath on ‘Old Year’ in preparation for the New Year. So I will have to remember that. Though I don’t do baths I will try and take a shower — something I usually try to do, if I have time, ahead of a presentation.

Happy New Year.

Apr 012014

On Tuesday, April 1, 2014, it was announced that the Pope, Francis (#267), creating six new Apostolic Delegates, all of them previously appointed ‘Prelates of Honor to His Holiness‘, to act as roving, global ambassadors without borders to try and eradicate the Deadly Sins — within the next fifty years. He wants this to be a part of his legacy.

Msnr. Desmond Daly, Tampa, FL. Assigned 'envy'.

Msnr. Desmond Daly, Tampa, FL. Assigned ‘envy’.

It would also appear that this is related to comments made by the pope, earlier in the year, to the effect that he does not want his many, honorary ‘Prelates of Honor to His Holiness‘, to essentially have a free ride — i.e., have a fancy title that doesn’t involve any duties or obligations. Lets face it, even cardinals have to every once in awhile get together an elect a pope.

It was not specified whether there was a term-limit for these appointments, and whether as was the case when they had a Camerlengo for the College of Cardinals, all of the ‘Prelates’ (and there are a ton of them) would be cycled through these posts on a periodic basis.

So far only one U.S. ‘Prelate’ has been designated an Apostolic Delegate to a Deadly Sin. It is ex-Tampa, Msnr. Desmond Daly, who took early retirement. He will be the Apostolic Delegate to Envy. That seems apropos. He looks like he might know something about that Sin — if only secondhand.

Mar 262014

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.


by Anura Guruge

Related posts:
>> “Secrets of the Vatican” must watch
>>Feb. 28, 2014.
>> Frontline “Secrets of the Vatican” —
>>Feb. 26, 2014.
>> ‘Legionaries of Christ’ — Feb. 27, 2014.
++++ Search on ‘pope‘  & ‘PBS‘ for other pope related posts >>>>

Click to access Al Jazeera America publicity for this documentary.

Click to access Al Jazeera America publicity for this documentary.

I got an e-mail about this from the network yesterday. (Thank you.)

I had a look. It looks very interesting. That it is done by a professor from the University College of London gives it immediate credibility, this ‘College’ a part of the “University of London” (where I got my M. Sc. in 1979). With Pope Francis creating just last month a new ‘Secretariat for Economy‘ with Australian (Jew belittling) George Pell as the Czar this documentary is very germane and TIMELY — and comes on the heels of the excellent ‘Frontline’ “Secrets of the Vatican” documentary that covered other facets of Vatican morass, only having time to briefly touch on the financial, and in particular ‘Vatican Bank’ (a.k.a. “God’s Bank”) impropriety.

So set your DVRs to record this this Sunday. Al Jazeera America is available, for FREE, on DirecTV and DISH as well as quite a few cable networks (though not on Metrocast that serves much of the NH Lakes Region). I assume it will be available, after the Sunday airing, on the Web. If so I will try and get you the link.

This documentary has already aired in Canada on CBC on Sunday, March 16, 2014 and in Europe two days later. So folks at the Vatican and Italy have already seen it.

Mar 242014

Related post:
>> How did Demond Daly become a Monsignor — Mar. 22, 2014.

Click to access Bishop's original.

Click to access Bishop’s original.

Can’t be for health reason. He looks so rosy, robust and well nourished. Kind of a poster child for ruddy health.

So what is the story?

I thought there was a shortage of Catholic priests. So why would he be retiring so early especially since he is now ‘Monsiner’ — a prelate of honor. Wow.

Just curios.

Mar 222014

The Pope, thank God, earlier this year tried to make ‘Monsignor’
mean something.

Click to access full article at 'Vatican Insider'.

Click to access full article at ‘Vatican Insider’.

So how did this guy qualify — though I appreciate that he snuck in before the new guidelines.

I was talking to a very devout Deacon the other day who was bemoaning that Francis hasn’t done enough — per him Francis should sack at least 3,000 bishops. He feels that a lot of bishops ae letting the side down. Well I would have to think that the Bishop that nominated this guy to be a Monsignor probably qualified. Miracles never cease.

Do not click to ENLARGE.

Mar 222014

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.

Anura Guruge

Related posts:
>> Bl. John XXIII Quiz for Canonization
>> Mar. 14, 2014.
>> Just approved paperback version
>> Mar. 6, 2014.
>> “Pope John XXIII: 101 Facts & Trivia Book”
>>Mar. 1, 2014.

1/ What had Belgian Cardinal Léon Joseph Suenens to do with Pope John XXIII’s canonization process?

2/ Why would Lumen Gentium and Gaudium et Spes get mentioned in the context of John XXIII’s canonization?

3/ What was the political dilemma faced by Paul VI (#263) when it came to initiating the canonization ’cause’ for John XXIII?

4/ Who were the postulators who handled the John XXIII canonization process?

5/ What religious order did they all belong to and what were the ‘special’ titles held by these postulators?

6/ Why did the postulators decide to put aside a John XXIII miracle reported from Chicago?

7/ Do you know the name of the nun who provided the miracle used for the canonization?

8/ What was the nun cured of and why is it ‘interesting’ relative to the pope, in the same way that the two John Paul II (#265) miracles pertain to that pope?

9/ Why did ‘they’ decide to forgo the second miracle when it came to the ‘Good Pope’?

10/ What will be Pope St. John XXIII’s feast day and what is unusual about it?

The definite, detailed answers to all of these can be found in Chapter 8 of “Pope John XXIII: 101 Facts & Trivia.

Mar 162014

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.

Anura Guruge

Related posts:
>> Just approved paperback version — Mar. 6, 2014.
>> “Pope John XXIII: 101 Facts & Trivia Book”
 — Mar. 1, 2014.

1)  When did the future pope arrive in Rome for Pius XII’s (#261) funeral and where did he stay in Rome prior to the conclave?

2)  Who was the Camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church in charge of the 1958 sede vacante and when had he been appointed as such?

3)  Starting the day after Pius XII’s funeral, i.e., October 14, Cardinal Roncalli, wearing the obligatory purple cassock, started attending the daily pre-conclave, ‘general congregation’ meetings that were held in the Vatican’s Consistory Hall. All cardinals in Rome are expected to attend these collegial, cardinals-only gathering where they deal with all of the logistical issues pertaining to the sede vacante, in particular the conclave. [General congregations prior to the funeral would have dealt with the funeral arrangements.] The general congregations attended by Cardinal Roncalli had to deal with a rather unusual and quite unappealing ‘problem’ – that most of the time would have been outside their normal purview. What was this ‘problem’ that they as a group handled with aplomb on October 20th, five days prior to the conclave?

4)  What single action by Cardinal Roncalli in the early days of his pre-conclave stay in Rome has since been interpreted as proof positive that he was indeed aware and sensitive to the possibility that he would be the next pope?

5)  During the afternoons of his pre-conclave stay in Rome, following the general congregations in the mornings, Cardinal Roncalli would try to visit some of his favorite churches in Rome. Having spent eight years in Rome, from 1900 to 1904 and 1921 to 1925, first as a young seminarian and then as a curialist, Angelo Roncalli had a history with some of the Roman churches. Early on in the sede vacante he visited two churches. First, Santa Maria (Regina Cœli) in Montesanto [St. Mary (Queen of Heaven) on the Holy Mountain], the church facing the northern gate of the Aurelian Walls, where he had been ordained 54 years ago, on August 10, 1904. Then, the minor basilica of (Sant’Ambrogio) e Carlo al Corso [a church dedicated to St. Charles (Carlo) Borromeo], on Via del Corso, where he had been consecrated as the titular Archbishop of Areopoli on March 19, 1925. On Wednesday, October 22, 1958, he visited the crypt of St. Peter’s where he had celebrated his first Mass the day after his ordination. [q.v. #31] What were the last two churches that he was known to have visited, on Thursday, October 23rd, two days prior to the start of the conclave?

6)  What were the prevailing sentiments ahead of the 1958 conclave vis-à-vis the selection of the next pope?

7)  Who were the papabili leading up to the 1958 conclave?

8)  What was the ‘cell’ assigned to Cardinal Roncalli for the conclave?

9)  What was the seating arrangement for the cardinal electors at this 1958 conclave – a tradition that was to soon end since this was to be the last conclave where the number of cardinals met what long held criteria?

10)  How many cardinals attended the 1958 conclave and what where the demographics?

11)  How many rounds of balloting were supposed to have taken place in the 1958 conclave and when did these ballots take place?

12)  What is the conjecture as to the supposed voting at the 1958 conclave?

13)  Upon accepting his canonical election, the new pope was asked by the Dean of the College of Cardinals, Cardinal Tisserant, as to what name he wished to be known by. He replied Vocabor Johannes (I will be called John). This name had not been used by a pope since the time of the opportunistic, schematic, onetime bona fide buccaneer, antipope John (XXIII) [1410 to 1415]. He had been an antipope during the latter stages of the Great Western Schism that, in the end, had three competing claimants for the papacy.

14)  What was the long cherished conclave tradition, inexplicably overlooked by his two predecessors, viz. Pius XI (#260) & Pius XII (#261), that was joyfully reinstated by the newly elected John XXIII?

15)  Is it at all conceivable that Cardinal Giuseppe Siri, per the ‘Siri Thesis’, received thirty-five or more votes at some point during the 1958 conclave and was elected pope only for that election to be overruled and overturned?

16)  John XXIII, in what would become a practice emulated by John Paul I (#264), John Paul II (#265), Benedict XVI (#266) and Francis (#267), asked the cardinal electors to spend another night with him ‘in conclave’ so that he could seek counsel from them over dinner in a family atmosphere. The pope seeking this extension caused some unexpected disruptions to the proceedings. This necessitated the new pope having to make two early pronouncements. What transpired and what did the pope have to say?

Some of these are easy. The answers to some of these can be found in my ‘The Next Pope (2011)‘ or one of the ‘Conclave‘ books.

IF you are still intrigued and stuck on any of the others, these 16 questions happen to be the 16 ‘bullets’ from “Pope John XXIII: 101 Facts & Trivia“.

Mar 082014

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.

Anura Guruge

Related posts:
>> Just approved paperback version Mar. 6, 2014.
>> “Pope John XXIII: 101 Facts & Trivia Book”  
Mar. 1, 2014.
>> Indexing “Pope John XXIII: 101 Facts & Trivia Book”  — Mar. 4, 2014.

Click to access Amazon.

Click to access Amazon.

Right now Amazon is selling it at a $1.29 discount!

This is all part of the Amazon magic. Actually they now have a new algorithm that dynamically changes the price to promote sales. Amazon can do this really well with books like this — which are PUBLISHED through THEIR CreateSpace program. They know their costs. It is a wonderful, soup-to-nuts program — which is why I now do everything exclusively through Amazon — and ITS CreateSpace and Kindle. 

So just a heads up for those that have already asked me when the paperback will be available. It is available now.

The goal always was to get it done in time for the canonization. Whew! Made it. I have to stop writing books with HARD deadlines. Last year it was Comet ISON with the November 28 perihelion. I wanted all four books, in print form, ready well ahead of that deadline. With this book it was April 27. No deadlines, other than what I set myself, for the next two book. That is a relief.

Mar 072014

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.

Anura Guruge

Related posts:
“Pope John XXIII: 101 Facts & Trivia Book”
>> Mar. 1, 2014.
>> Indexing “Pope John XXIII: 101 Facts & Trivia Book”
>>Mar. 4, 2014.
++++ Check Categories ‘Books‘ or ‘Religion
for other pope related posts


Click to ENLARGE. The tightly formatted inside of the printed book. Note the ‘Q & A’ participatory approach used in this book — the first time I have used it (and folks tell me that they like it).


Click to ENLARGE. My [Amazon] ‘CreateSpace’ dashboard showing all the PRINTED books I have published through ‘CreateSpace’. So ‘Pope John XXIII’ was my 10th book through ‘CreateSpace’.

I will never deny it. I am very old fashioned when it comes to books — whether it be reading them, writing them or publishing them. eBooks do NOTHING for me at an emotively (though nearly all of my titles are now available in eBook form (other than my ‘Popes and the Tale of Their Names) — and for the sake of full disclosure I should divulge that I do get a few (and I do MEAN ‘few’) dollars a month on my eBook royalties (which I then promptly use on eBay to buy ‘Poppy Pins‘ or cheap pope memorabilia). My sister-in-law (who was visiting) asked me last week whether I would ever start reading books on ‘a Kindle’. I had to think about it, but the answer was NO (and ‘a Kindle’ was just a code-word for some kind of portable, electronic reading device). Yes, of course, we have the Kindle App. on all of our Andoid Pads — and I have a bought copy of all of my eBooks on my pad so that I can make sure that it looks ‘OK’ in Kindle form. I like the tactile feel of books. I like the heft of a Michener, Irving Stone or John Irving book. Holding up a thin, ‘light’ pad for long periods of time (and remember I read when I am travelling and before going to sleep) would not feel the same.

So publishing “Pope John XXIII: 101 Facts & Trivia” as an eBook on Amazon Kindle, on Thursday night, left me totally cold. It was just something I had to do. There was no satisfaction, no sense of achievement, no sense of closure. Just another item that had to be ticked off my neverending ‘to do’ list.

I started working on the print version as soon as I hit ‘publish’ on Kindle. I wrote this book in formatted ‘print form’, as opposed to the unstructured, free-flowing text form required for eBooks. So there was no re-formatting that I had to do. Just insert the images, create the cover and index the book. Had it all completed by 1:30 pm yesterday. Then I pulled the trigger on ‘CreateSpace’ — the Amazon service I have been using since 2008 to print my books. This part of the process, at least for me, is nerve wracking. I was a true ‘dipso’ this would be where I would have pure red wine pumped into me intravenously to keep me sane. Creating the cover, at least the way I do it, is not fun. Since I submit it as a ‘print-ready’ PDF, I have to do the front cover, back cover and spine all as ONE Word document and then convert it to a PDF. It ends up as a 15.4″ by 11.25″ document. 15.4″ is one long document — i.e., more than two pages, plus a spine, side-by-side.

Once you submit the interior and the cover to ‘CreateSpace’ you have to wait, and wait, and wait and wait — and then go to bed, eventually, around 1 am, still waiting. ‘CreateSpace’ asks for 24 hours to review the material you submit. So since I submitted at 1:30 pm yesterday, they have till 1:30 pm today to send me an e-mail saying ‘GO’ or ‘No-GO’. To be fair to them I usually get my e-mail within 15 hours. (This one was sent at 4:45 am, so that is 15 h 15 minutes!) But, I never know what they will say. They ALWAYS complain that my images don’t meet the 200(+) dpi requirement. With this book getting even medium resolution images was HARD since all the photographs were pre-1963. So I was worried that they would make me take out some of the pictures. This morning I got the e-mail — with the usual subject line “Your files NEED ATTENTION”! Yes, they busted my chops, as I knew they would, that some of my images didn’t meet the 200 dpi requirements. But, as they invariably do, they give me the option of going ahead IF I am OK with how the images look.

In my mind I did a little dance of joy.

In my mind I did a little dance of joy.

I checked the book using the very useful and good online, digital proofer. Though I ordered a proof copy and there is still a chance that I will have to redo the print version multiple times, I approved the proof — based on the online review. So it is now on the way to getting listed as a PRINT book. Now that makes me happy. In my mind I danced a little jig. The books is NOW done. Another load of my mind. It is strange. My 21st book — on my own. My 26th or 28th book IF I count the books that I co-wrote, edited or co-edited. This is my 10th book in a year! So, in theory, I should be totally sanguine about each new book. But, doesn’t work like that — or at least not yet. With each book I feel the pressure to get it PRINTED and published. Well, this book is done. Yes, there is a sense of relief. But, I have already started writing my next book in my head. I will probably take a week off. Have to do my taxes too.

≈ ≈ ≈ ≈ ≈ ≈

I approved the proof around 11:48 am this morning. It was already listed on Amazon, sans the price, at 2:20 pm — when I go back to my PC after my breakfast, actually my brunch. That is pretty good and quick. (As I have said before Amazon is good to me. That they already have an active listing for me helps. IF I was a brand new author the listing process will take longer.) That the price is not there is NOT a good sign. It means that the listing is screwed up! Yes, after all these books I know the process and all the anomalies. So this might require phone calls and 3 – 4 days to get fixed. The fun never ends.

Amazon print version listing.

Amazon print version listing.

≈ ≈ ≈ ≈ ≈ ≈

J23toc1≈ ≈ ≈ ≈ ≈ ≈

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