BlogWatch June 24: The socialist with rosary beads

Melbourne academic Paul Mees, once described as a socialist who carried rosary beads, has died of cancer.

Melbourne academic Paul Mees, an internationally recognised public transport expert once described as a socialist who carried rosary beads, has died after a long battle with cancer.

Professor Mees' death has sparked a torrent of tributes from the blogosphere.

Jana at Urban Guerilla Semiotics writes:

Paul Mees, distinguished transport scholar, and one of Australia’s most important living academics, died at the unfairly early age of 52, following battle with cancer.

This is a terrible loss for Australian urbanism and urbanist scholarship. Paul was a tireless, absolutely tireless advocate for public transport, and fought using impeccable logic, world-class research, and brilliant rhetoric. Only shortly before passing away, he recorded this address to the Trains Not Toll Roads campaign launch

Griffith University research fellow Matthew Burke added the following tribute at The Conversation

One of the great minds of Australian urban studies, and the most important transport and land use researcher of the last 20 years, has just passed away.

Paul was a brave researcher – frank and fearless. He was not afraid to shine spotlights in dark corners or even to question what our community perceived as good policy and practice.

More tributes listed by Crikey here.

In fact, cancer was only the last of Prof. Mees' many battles with government and university authorities as well as with the roads lobby.

Paul Mees was also a committed Catholic, a fact adverted to by Stephen Luntz at Forensics, Fossils and Fruitbats who notes that Heaven is getting better transport.

David Moloney describes Paul Mees' involvement in a campaign to rejuvenate Melbourne's old Central Catholic Library (now the Caroline Chisholm Library) during the 1980s as well as his early involvement with the Tertiary (University) Young Christian Students movements.

And here's a video of a young Paul Mees taking on Victoria's then Transport Minister Jim Kennan in 1990:

Tributes to Paul Mees took all kinds of forms, including this homage to his Jobs-like propensity to wear black skivvies

Socialist Stephen Jolly had this to say:

First time I met Paul Mees he had a copy of Capital on his desk at Melbourne Uni. I was immediately impressed by him

— Stephen Jolly (@stephenjolly99) June 20, 2013

Inspiring this memorable response from Clara Geoghegan:

@cnresearch Paul was only socialist I knew at uni who carried Rosary Beads. A man of conviction. Will be missed

— Clara Geoghegan (@GeogheganClara) June 20, 2013

Last word to Paul's wife Erica Cervini:

People have asked so here are the details for Paul Mees' funeral. Wed June 26, 10.30am, Our Lady Help of Christians, East Brunswick.

— Erica Cervini (@thirddegreeblog) June 22, 2013

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After the first hundred days with Pope Francis, John Thavis reflects that we are "settling in for a fascinating pontificate":

I don't want to recap Pope Francis’ 100-day “greatest hits” here. Instead, I’d like to identify a few core characteristics and directions that seem to be emerging.

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Going back a few popes, Fr Joseph Komonchak recalls the election of Pope Paul VI on 21 June 1963.

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Back in the USA, Jana Bennett is concerned that many Americans hold fast to their political party of choice but apparently switch religions with increasing ease:

Many of us who teach theology have been well aware of the increasingly voluntaristic nature of religion in the past couple decades.  What we have perhaps been less aware of is the apparent decrease in the voluntaristic nature of political parties – that it forms so trenchant an identity marker.

Less aware – but maybe not surprised.  Many of those aspects of society that people have pointed out in the past couple decades perhaps come to a focal point in political party as identity.

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Maureen Fiedler recalls an unusual interview:

Thursday’s edition of Interfaith Voices, I interviewed a delightful older gentleman who had just spent more than half a decade writing out the entire Bible (King James version) in longhand.

The project took Phillip Patterson of Philmont, N.Y., a total of seven years, penning the last passage in May. He used a cursive Palmer script, writing on archival paper with a felt-tip pen.

Patterson had attended Catholic school as a boy growing up in East Flatbush in Brooklyn, but he had never read the Bible in its entirety — a fact that bothered him. 

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Fr Timothy Finigan of Hermeneutic of Continuity is continuing his Down Under tour.

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Finally, Melbourne priest Fr Bob Maguire is getting a movie of his own 'In Bob we trust'.

Michael MullinsStefan Gigacz is preparing a PhD. at MCD University of Divinity, Melbourne, on the role of Joseph Cardijn at Vatican II.

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