In brief | Nation & World, December 15, 2013


Desmond Tutu changes plans, says he will attend Mandela funeral

JOHANNESBURG — Retired Archbishop Desmond Tutu changed course Saturday night and announced plans to attend the funeral of anti-apartheid hero Nelson Mandela after all.

Spokesman Roger Friedman did not explain Tutu’s abrupt reversal but said Tutu would catch a flight early in the morning and be in attendance at Mandela’s funeral Sunday in the village of Qunu.

He did not explain the reason for Tutu’s dramatic change of plans.

Tutu had earlier in the day said he would not go because the government had not made him feel welcome and he did not want to “gatecrash” the funeral of his longtime ally and friend.

Tutu, 82, is — like Mandela — the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize for his groundbreaking work in the ultimately successful struggle against apartheid.

Bloomberg impact unquestioned, but his legacy still hotly debated

NEW YORK — When Michael Bloomberg took the oath as mayor nearly a dozen years ago, he was a political neophyte faced with a city still smoldering from a terrorist attack that crippled its economy, wounded its psyche and left a ragged scar across lower Manhattan.

Bloomberg is now poised to leave office Dec. 31 having dramatically reshaped the city, from its government to its skyline. He steered it through a series of crises, both natural and man-made, and his innovative public health policies appear to have added years to residents’ lives. The city has never been safer or cleaner, a teeming metropolis transformed into a must-see attraction for more than 50 million tourists a year.

But Bloomberg’s approach to governing as the billionaire businessman he is, employing hard data and the free market to drive much of the city’s renaissance, sometimes left him without an ability to connect with those who felt left behind. Income inequality grew during his years. The number of homeless has soared. And some ethnic and religious minorities complain that a steep drop in crime has come at the expense of their civil liberties.

As Bloomberg’s three terms trickle down to their final days, he leaves as a singular figure with an unquestioned impact but as one whose legacy is still being debated. Polls show his policies are far more popular than the man.

“He is a public-spirited and visionary man of great wealth who took advantage of the failure of politics as usual to deal with extraordinary circumstances,” said Kenneth Sherrill, a retired political science professor at Hunter College. “He largely succeeded doing what he pleased and he didn’t damn well care what you thought of it.”

Pope riles traditionalists for crackdown on order that celebrates Latin Mass

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis may have been named Time magazine’s Person of the Year, but he has come under scathing criticism from a growing number of traditionalist Catholics for cracking down on a religious order that celebrates the old Latin Mass. The case has become a flashpoint in the ideological tug-of-war going on in the Catholic Church over Francis’ revolutionary agenda, which has thrilled progressives and alarmed some conservatives.

The matter concerns the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate, a small but growing order of several hundred priests, seminarians and nuns that was founded in Italy in 1990 as an offshoot of the larger Franciscan order of the pope’s namesake, St. Francis of Assisi.

Then-Pope Benedict XVI launched an investigation into the congregation after five of its priests complained that the order was taking on an overly traditionalist bent, with the old Latin Mass being celebrated more and more at the expense of the liturgy in the vernacular.

Benedict, a great admirer of the pre-Vatican II Mass, had relaxed restrictions on celebrating the old Latin Mass in 2007.

While the order was in turmoil over this liturgical issue, the dispute at its core comes down to differing interpretations of the modernizing reforms of the Second Vatican Council, which include the use of local languages in Mass that some considered a break with the church’s tradition.

By wire sources