Tavis: If you were a preacher, what do you think your message might be? What would you be coming back to time and time again?November 2007
McCourt: Freedom. Well, you can't do that because a religion by its very nature binds you in. It has its parameters or perimeters so you have to follow a certain doctrine. So I'd call myself an atheist in a way - a spiritual, religious atheist, which is a contradiction in terms.
Tavis: Yeah, I hear you.
Writer Frank McCourt, author of Angela's Ashes died yesterday. I was told of McCourt's worsening condition by the man who directed and produced Frank and Malachy McCourt's career making play A Couple of Blackguards
here in Chicago.
Writer, film maker, actor and wit, Mike Houlihan directed the McCourts during the early 1980's in that play. It really put both men on the map here in Chicago and on Broadway.
Mike Houlihan's long-running and hilarious Chicago tour-de-force Going East on Ashland was the nub of his Thursday night show at Jack Desmond's Pub, in Chicago Ridge last Thursday. After his show, Jazz singer Terry Sullivan, boxing promoter lawyer Mike Joyce and I chatted with Houli. Terry raises money for inner city kids who want an education in a value based environment -Midtown Education Center. Mike Joyce, a lawyer, teaches and coaches boxing to inner city kids here at Leo High School and through Illinois Crime Commission. They are Catholics doing good.
Frank McCourt said goodbye to his Catholic Faith, but used it for his work. Mike Houlihan recounted the news that Mr. McCourt was near death.
"Frank McCourt's in pretty bad shape. I talked to Chris Hart ( son of Moss Hart and Kitty Carlyle who directed Going East on Ashland) and he said that Frank is about done," said the gifted Chicagoan. Mike talked about his time with the McCourt Brothers and the success of Frank McCourt. " McCourt said he was an atheist. I never could get my head around that. For all the ugliness in McCourt's book, remember that it was the St. Vincent DePaul Society that kept Angela and her kids from starvation, while the old man boozed it up," Houlihan offered.
Catholics and Faith in God are not so bad, unless your memory is selective.
The St. Vincent De Paul Society is not a Government agency. It is a charitable act of grace funded by Catholics and friends to help the poor in their most difficult times here on earth. Jewish, Lutheran and Dutch Reformed have similar charter groups making direct help to families. They too are the real Faith-vased initiatives and not adjuncts of big government.
Frank McCourt's passing is sad. He was a talented man. He is now meeting the Trinity that bitterness and sadness allowed McCourt to deny.
While we're here. Let's help Angela and her kids. St. Vincent DePaul Society here in Chicago gets things done. Click my post title for the link to that great work.
Prayer of the Vincentian Family
Lord Jesus, you who willed to become poor,
give us eyes and a heart directed toward the poor;
help us recognize you in them --
in their thirst, their hunger, their loneliness, and their misfortune.
Enkindle within our Vincentian Family
unity, simplicity, humility,
and the fire of love
that burned in St. Vincent de Paul
Strengthen us, so that faithful to the practice of these virtues,
we may contemplate you and serve you in the person of the poor,
and may one day be united with you and them in your Kingdom.