Monday, July 30, 2012

Henry Allison Page III and the USS Birmingham (May 1945)


Henry Allison Page III was my grandpa - Sam Welles - best friend/Rhodes Scholar buddy who was KIA by a kamikaze fighter in May 1945 while serving on the USS Birmingham. 

Kamikaze hit on the USS Birmingham that killed  LT Page
with LT "Whiskey Joe" Matthews peering into hole.
Photo Courtesy of Gary Young, whose father served on the USS Birmingham.

Henry Welles' copy of Victory in the Pacific
(My father was named after Henry Page)
Photo By Donna Welles 07/30/12

 Harvard Professor Samuel Eliot Morison included an account of Henry's death in 
his "Victory in the Pacific 1945":

The oft-battered Birmingham (Captain H. D. Power), now flying the flag of rear Admiral Deyo, having completed her forty-first gunfire support mission, anchored off Hagushi during the morning watch 4 May, hoping for a little peace and quiet. The forenoon watch had been on duty nearly five minutes when 14 planes were reported closing, 60 miles distant. They were intercepted by C.A.P., but apparently with slight success as ten or twelve broke through and made for a cruiser. While these were absorbing the gunners' attention, an Oscar, which had approached from over Okinawa, undetected by radar, was sighted by the lookouts about a mile distant and almost directly overhead. It dove through a barrage of 20-mm fire, at 0841 crashed Birmingham just to starboard of No. 2 six-inch turret, broke through main deck, passed through the communications officers' cabin, killing Lieutenant Henry Page who had just gone below, and exploded in the sickbay where sick-call was just being held, killing or severely wounding nearly everyone there, including all but five corpsmen of the medical staff. And the bomb, too, exploded on first platform deck.

See also the dedication to Henry Allison Page III found in "Profile of Europe" by Sam Welles (1948)

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Joe Louis vs. Max Schmeling (1938) - Margery Miller Welles (Part I)

A founding author of Sports Illustrated, my grandma has been 
nominated to join the International Boxing Hall of Fame. 

Margery Miller Welles -my grandma- witnessed one of the 
most important sporting events in American history in 1938 at age 15 when 
her father took her to Yankee Stadium to watch Joe Louis fight Max Schmeling. 
For her Wellesley College thesis she wrote a bio of Joe titled, 
"Joe Louis: American" which was published before she graduated in 1945 and 
reviewed by Ring Magazine founder Nat Fleischer and Eleanor Roosevelt

An excerpt from Joe Louis: American:

15. Joe's Greatest Victory 

          The eve of the second Schmeling fight was one of the most vivid occasions in the annals of boxing. It seemed that half the world had come to New York to watch the German and the Negro meet at Yankee Stadium. Forty-ninth Street near Eighth Avenue was crammed with boxing celebrities and fans. Wandering from one restaurant to another, one could hear of nothing but the coming fight. Jimmy Braddock and Jack Dempsey were in the crowd, "Louis will take him," said Braddock with an air of finality. "Can't see anything but Schmeling," Dempsey remarked.
          Managers, trainers, referees, judges, sports writers, promoters, seconds- all the boxing world who could get to the battle scene came. They milled along the sidewalks talking and gesticulating. Many an earnest debater struck a boxing pose to illustrate a point he was making. "Look, what I mean, Louis will do this, and then Max, he'll counter like this…" On and on they argued, while the orchestras played in the restaurants and the nightclubs, which the bright lights of stores and bars lit up the eager faces of those on the street. Often, very often, the psychological elements of the contest were brought in. "Max is inspired by the feeling he is leading a new race movement," someone said. "He feels he's Hitler's representative. He'll be hard to lick because of it." But a sportswriter took the author aside and said, "Look, I know Joe Louis pretty well, and if anybody's psychology is important, it's his. You know Max has been laughing at him and saying the negro is afraid of him. Well, Joe doesn't get mad easily, but he's mad now. He's mad at Schmeling's whole attitude toward his race. He doesn't talk much about it, but tomorrow night- look out. He's waited two years for this, and waiting hasn't been easy. Something's ready to explode."
Photo of Margery Miller Welles taken around  the same time
she sawJoe Louis defeat Max Schmeling (1938)

          At last night came. Swarms of people began to move toward the stadium. A large percentage of them were Negroes, Jews, or other anti-Nazis. They were going to cheer for Louis. Some had been expected to boycott the bout, but their hate of everything Nazi was so strong they determined to go in the hope of seeing Schmeling "get his." Others of the throng that descended upon the stadium were uncertain whether they should cheer for Schmeling because he was white or for Louis because Max was a Nazi. Most of them, however, leaned a trifle toward Louis. A small minority of those who jammed the subways and "els" that lead to the battleground were for Schmeling. Most of them came from Yorkville, the German section of New York.
          The air outside of the stadium was charged with electricity. The crowd that stood in line before the gates was restless, suspicious, sensitive. It seemed that all their hates and fears were centered that night on Yankee Stadium.

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Sacraments of the [Catholic] Church

As a supplement to my formal education in the Anglican tradition, last fall I completed all of the
 education required to be confirmed into the Catholic Church. 

One of the assigned texts -"Handbook for Today's Catholic: Fully Indexed to the Catechism of the Catholic Church"-outlined the church sacraments as transcribed below:

The Sacraments of the Church 

          The seven sacraments touch all the stages and all the important moments of Christian life. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1210

Baptism: New Life and Ways of Living 

          Through symbolic immersion in the waters of baptism, you are "grafted into the paschal mystery of Christ." In a mysterious way, you "die with him, are buried with him, and rise with him" (Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, 6) [1086].
          As a baptized Christian, you are an adopted brother or sister of Christ, "hid with Christ in God," but a visible member of his Body [1266].
          Having died to sin (both original sins and personal sins are cleansed away in the waters of baptism) [1263,1264], you have entered the community of the Church "as through a door." Your indelible baptism into Christ was the beginning of a unique lifelong vocation [1214-1216, 1263,1271]. […]
          Through your baptism, you share with others "the sacramental bond of unity among all who through it are reborn" (Decree on Ecumenism, 22). Your baptism can never be repeated because it binds you to God forever. The bond is unbreakable. It is possible for you to lose grace and even faith, but you cannot lose your baptism. You are marked as one of God's own. That same bond links you to all other baptised persons in a sacramental way. You are one of us and we are all "sacrament persons." Together we are called to live until death the baptismal mystery into which we have been plunged [941, 1271, 2791].

Confirmation: Seal of the Spirit, Gift of the Father [1285-1321] 

          Confirmation is the sacrament by which those born anew in baptism receive the seal of the Holy Spirit, the Gift of the Father. Along with baptism and the Eucharist, confirmation is a sacrament of initiation- in this case, initiation into the life of adult Christian witness. The deepened presence of the Spirit, who comes to us in this sacrament, is meant to sustain us in a lifetime of witness to Christ and service to others. […]
          The word Gift, used in confirmation, is spelled with a capital, because the Gift we receive in this sacrament is the Spirit himself.

Eucharist: Sacrifice and Sacrament [1322-1419] 

          "At the last supper, on the night when he was betrayed, our Savior instituted the Eucharistic sacrifice of his body and blood. This he did in order to perpetuate the sacrifice of this cross throughout the ages until he should come again, and so to entrust to his beloved spouse, the church, a memorial of his death and resurrection: a sacrament of love, a sign of unity, and bond of charity, 'a paschal banquet in which Christ is received, the mind is filled with grace, and a pledge of future glory is given to us'". (Constitution of the Sacred Liturgy, 47).
          This mystery is the very center and culmination of Christian life. It is the "source and the summit of all preaching the Gospel…the center of the assembly of the faithful" (Decree of the Ministry and the Life of Priests, 5).
          In every Mass, Christ is present, both in the person of his priest and especially under the form of bread and wine. In every Mass, his death becomes a present reality, offered as our sacrifice to God in an unbloody and sacramental manner. As often as the sacrifice of the cross is celebrated on an altar, the work of our redemption is carried on. […]

Penance: Reconciliation [1422-1498] 

          Penance is the sacrament by which we receive God's healing forgiveness for sins committed after baptism. The rite is called reconciliation because it reconciles us not only with God but with the church community. Both these aspects of reconciliation are important [1468-1470].
          As members of Christ's body, everything we do affects the whole Body. Sin wounds and weakens the Body of Christ; the healing we receive in penance restores health and strength to the Church, as well as to ourselves. […]
          When you confess your sins sincerely, with true sorrow and resolution not to sin again, God rejoices. […]

(My Copy of "Handbook for Today's Catholic"
Photo by: Donna Welles 07/20/12)

Anointing of the Sick [1499-1532] 

          In serious illness you experience mortality. You realize that at some time you are going to die. If you are not seriously ill, but infirm or aged, you know this same experience.
          Because these circumstances lead you to face God in this light of your own death, there is something especially sacramental about the condition you are in. And so there is a formal sacrament for this sacramental situation: anointing of the sick [1522].
          Anointing does not hasten the act of death. In this sacrament, however, God does invite you to commune with him in this light of your final meeting with him. Through this sacrament, the entire Church asks God to lighten your sufferings, forgive your sins, and bring you to eternal salvation. […]

Holy Orders: Ministerial Priesthood [1536-1600] 

          The Church is the Body of Christ. As such, the whole Church shares in the nature and tasks of Christ, our head. This includes sharing in his priesthood.
          But beyond sharing this "common priesthood of the faithful," there is a special or "ministerial" priesthood that certain members of the Church receive through the sacrament of holy orders.
          Each type of priesthood- common or ministerial- is a sharing in the priesthood of Christ. And both types are related to eachother. But there is a basic difference between them. In this Eucharistic sacrifice, for example, the ordained priest acts "in the person of Christ" and offers the sacrifice to God in the name of all, and the people join with the priest in that offering. The two roles- of priest and people- go together. […]

Matrimony: Sacrament of Life-giving Oneness [1601-1666]

          A couple does not live a life of love because they happen to be compatible. They do it consciously and deliberately because it is their vocation and because matrimony is called "a great mystery…in reference to Christ and the church" (Ephesians 5:32).
          Matrimony is much more than a private arrangement between two people. It is a sacramental vocation in and for the Church. It is a medium through which Christ reveals and deepens the mystery of his oneness with us, his Body. […]

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Chronology of the Catholic Church - Hans Kung

Already having formal education in both the Anglican and Catholic traditions, this summer I'm doing independent reading in an effort to study how the Buddhism and Christianity relate. 

Hans Kung - a theological consultant for the Second Vatican Council - included the following 
chronology in The Catholic Church, A Short History:

I. The Beginnings of the Church 
(Most of the dates in Chapters I and II and approximate.) 

30 Crucifixtion of Jesus of Nazareth
35 Conversion of Paul
43 Execution of James the son of Zebedee
48 Apostolic council in Jeruselem
48/49 Paul's first missionary journey
50 Paul's 1 Thessalonians (the earliest writing of the New Testament)
52 Paul's 1 Corinthians
60-64 Imprisonment of Paul and execution in Rome
62 Execution of James the brother of the Lord, leader of the earliest Jerusalem community
64-66 First persecutions of Christians, under the emperor Nero. Execution of Peter?
66 Emigration of the Jewish Christians to Pella (Transjordan)
70 Conquest of Jerusalem and destruction of the second temple

 II. The Early Catholic Church 

81-96 Second persecution of Christians, under the emperor Domitian
90 Letter of Clement
100 Didache, earliest Christian church order
110 Letters and execution of Bishop Ignatius of Antioch
165 Execution of the Philosopher Justin
185-251 Origen
249-251 First general persecution of Christians, under the emperor Decius

III. The Imperial Catholic Church 

313 The emperor Constantine guarantees freedom of religion 
325 The emperor Constantine sole ruler. First Ecumenical Council, of Nicaea 
354-430 Aurelius Augustine (395 bishop of Hippo) 
381 Second Ecumenical Council, of Constantinople. The emperor Theodosius the Great declares Catholic doctrine the state religion and later prohibits all pagan cults 
395 Death of Theodosius and division of the Roman empire into an Eastern and a Western Empire 
410 Conquest of "Eternal Rome" by Alaric's West Goths 
431 Third Ecumenical Council, of Ephesus 

My Copy of Hans Kung's "The Catholic Church"
Photo By: Donna Welles 07/17/2012

IV. The Papal Church 

440-461 Pope Leo the Great 
451 Fourth Ecumenical Council, of Chalcedon 
476 Downfall of the Western Roman Empire 
492-496 Pope Gelasius I 
498/499 Baptism of Clovis, king of the Franks 
527-565 Emperor Justinian 
590-604 Pope Gregory the Great 
622 Beginning of the Islamic era 
800 Coronation of Charlemagne in St. Peter's 
858-867 Pope Nicholas I 
1046 Synods of Sutri and Rome, with the deposition of three rival popes by King Henry III 

V. The Church is Split 

1049-1054 Pope Leo IX 
1054 Breach between Rome and the church of Constantinople 
1073-1085 Pope Gregory VII. Investiture dispute 
1077 King Henry IV goes to Canosa 
1095 Pope Urban II summons the First Crusade 
1198-1216 Pope Innocent III 
1202-1204 Fourth Crusade. Plundering of Constantinople and establishment of a Latin empire with a Latin hierarchy 
1209 Meeting of Innocent III and Francis of Assisi 
1215 Fourth Lateran Council 
1225-1274 Thomas Aquinas 
1294-1303 Pope Boniface VIII, imprisoned in Anagni 
1309-1376 Exile of the popes in Avignon 
1378-1417 Western Schism: two, then three popes 
1414-1418 Ecumenical Council of Constance. Execution of John Hus 

VI. Reform, Reformation, or Counter-Reformation 

1483-1546 Martin Luther 
1484-1531 Huldrych Zwingli 
1509-1564 John Calvin 
1517 Luther publishes theses on indulgences 
1520 Luther's great programmatic writings 
1521 Diet of Worms. Luther under the imperial ban 
1530 Diet of Augsburg: Augsburg Confession 
1534-1549 Pope Paul III 
1535 Calvin's Institutio Religionis Christianae (last edition, 1559) 
1545-1563 Council of Trent 
1549 Book of Common Prayer of the Anglican Church 
1618-1648 Thirty Years War 
1648 Peace of Westphalia 

VII. The Catholic Church Versus Modernity 

1633 Galileo Galilei before the Inquisition. Descartes post-pones publication of the treatise On the World
1678 Confiscation of Richard Simon's Critical History of the Old Testament 
1779 Lessing's Nathan the Wise 
1781 Kant's Critique of Pure Reason 
1789 French Revolution. Declaration of Human Rights 
1792 September massacre 
1797-1798 Abolition of the papal state and proclamation of the Roman Republic 
1799 Napoleon's coup d'etat 
1814-1815 Congress of Vienna and restoration of the papal state 
1848 Revolutions in Europe. The Communist Manifesto 
1846-1878 Pius IX 
1854 Dogma of the immaculate conception of Mary 
1864 Syllabus of Modern Errors 
1869-1870 First Vatican Council. The primacy of jurisdiction and infallibility of the pope defined. The Old Catholic Church is founded in reaction 

VIII. The Catholic Church - Present and Future 

1878-1903 Pope Leo XIII 
1891 Social encyclical Rerum Novarum 
1903-1914 Pope Pius X 
1910 Antimodernist Oath 
1914-1918 First World War 
1914-1922 Pope Benedict XV 
1922-1939 Pope Pius XI 
1929 Lateran Treaty with Mussolini 
1933 Concordat with Hitler 
1937 Encyclical Mit brennender Sorge 
1939-1945 Second World War. Holocaust 
1939-1958 Pius XII 
1950 Dogma of Mary's physical assumption into heaven. Encyclical Humani generis against the errors of the time 
1958-1963 Pope John XXIII. Encyclical Pacem in terris 
1962-1965 Second Vatican Council 
1961-1978 Pope Paul VI 
1967 Encyclical Sacerdotalis coelibatus for compulsory celibacy 
1968 Encyclical Humanae vitae against contraception 
1978 Pope John Paul I (Albino Luciani) 
1978 Pope John Paul II (Karol Wojtyla)

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Precision, Gentleness, and Letting Go - Pema Chodron

       Already having formal education in both the Anglican and Catholic traditions, this summer I'm doing independent reading into Buddhism in an effort to study how the faiths relate. 

        "The Wisdom of No Escape and the Path of Loving-Kindness" 
by American Buddhist nun, Pema Chodron, discusses 
the value of precision, gentleness, and the ability to let go:
          In meditation and in our daily lives there are three qualities that we can nurture, cultivate, and bring out. We already possess these, but they can be ripened: precision, gentleness, and the ability to let go.
          When the Buddha taught, he didn't say that we were bad people or that there was some sin that we had committed- original or otherwise- that made us more ignorant than clear, more harsh than gentle, more closed than open. He taught that there is a kind of innocent misunderstanding that we all share, something that can be turned around, corrected, and seen through, as if we were in a dark room. It's just an innocent situation, but how fortunate that someone shows us where the light switch is. It brightens up our life considerably. We can start to read books, to see one another's faces, to discover the colors of the walls, to enjoy the little animals that creep in and out of the room.
          In the same way, if we can see our so-called limitations with clarity, precision, gentleness, good heartedness, and kindness and, having seen them fully, then let go, open further, we begin to find that our world is more vast and more refreshing and fascinating than we had realized before. In other words, the key to feeling more whole and less shut off and shut down is to be able to see clearly who we are and what we're doing.
My Copy of "The Wisdom of No Escape"
Photo By: Donna Welles 07/10/12

          The innocent mistake that keeps us caught in our own particular style of ignorance, unkindness, and shut-downness is that we are never encouraged to see clearly what is, with gentleness. Instead , there's a kind of basic misunderstanding that we should try to be better than we already are, that we should try to improve ourselves, that we should try to get away from painful things, then we would be happy. That is the innocent, naïve misunderstanding that we all share, which keeps us unhappy.
          Meditation is about seeing clearly the body that we have, the mind that we have, the domestic situation that we have, the job that we have, and the people who are in our lives. It's about seeing how we react to all these things. It's seeing our emotions and thoughts just as they are right now, in this very moment, in this very room, on this very seat. It's about not trying to make them go away, not trying to become better than we are, but just seeing clearly with precision and gentleness.