Covert Matters Digest

My Word

The Quality of America’s Cardinals

Stars of Bells, Balls & Books

By Harry M. Covert

In light of recent international events I confess here and now that my favorite Cardinals have always been Americans.  First is a favorite son of Donora, Pa., and the other from Boston, Mass.  There is a third American now on my list but more about that later.

Each of these Cardinals are examples of quality individuals who have made differences in the lives of all they touch. These talents have been easily forgotten in these times of alleged progressiveness. Social turmoil bubbles everywhere we turn in Maryland, Virginia and the Nation’s Capital.

Community leaders and politicians may think they have the answers with all kinds of laws. But, they don’t.

Stan the Man

It’s easy to wonder and consider if modern citizens can or will survive in the long-term. I am a firm believer in the powers of hope, determination and a fact that the majorities of people are good, smart and won’t allow the meanness and ignorance out there on the streets to become the status quo. It’s a tough job, though

One of the joys of freedom is a free press. I know sometimes those doing the writing and editing go off half-cocked, especially when we disagree. The free flow of ideas guarantees that such freedom is priceless.

The only Cardinal I know from Pennsylvania is the late Stan Musial, baseball Hall of Famer, harmonica player and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Not only was Musial a truly great athlete, he was a truly great person of high personal values. Never a taint of untoward conduct, never ejected from a game and never argued over a strike.

Musial died at 92 on Jan. 13 this year. His prestigious medal came in 2011.

My second favorite Cardinal is Stephen Fermoyle. The Boston Roman Catholic priest created from the pen of Henry Morton Robinson. His book, The Cardinal, Fermoyle’s career began as a lowly curate and advanced to the College of Cardinals.

This fictional story was published in 1950. The author must have been prescient.In my mind Robinson

created the 266th Pope 63 years ago in the character of Stephen Fermoyle.

The former Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, archbishop of Buenos Aires, sure seems ready, able and willing to straighten out the mess embroiling his church.

Fermoyle faced all of the challenges of a young man in his religious experience. His personal battles over a priestly lifestyle and how he maintained his principles and character are evident today.

Maryland is known as a Catholic state and must be rejoicing with the rest of the Americas, both north and south, and around the world. A new day has come. No doubt major changes are en route, a healthier atmosphere is just around the corner.

As a non-Catholic the new look of the Holy See effects Christians of all denominations. Churches, leaders and members who besmirch values they say they hold dear will be watching.

Viva il Papa, Stan the Man and Stephen Fermoyle.

[Note: Robinson’s novel was based on the life of Cardinal Francis Spellman, then the Archbishop of New York. The Vatican’s liaison officer for the 1963 film was Joseph Ratzinger, later to become Pope Benedict XVI.]

This article has appeared in The Tentacle.


How to Correct Unruly Students?

Home-Training and the Most Wanted List

Keeping abreast of off-kilter conduct

By Harry M. Covert

Crime runs rampant these days and it’s not the blame of the media, or local, state and national financial crises or because school teachers and administrators are avoiding responsibilities.

Movies and television programs, novels and creative stories are dominant with vicious violence of all sorts but this is no reason for the real time, real life home invasions, burglaries, daring daylight robberies and murders to come to the forefront of community thinking and hand-wringing.

Preferably it’s fun writing with humor about daily living and the foibles and peccadilloes of politicians, movie stars, tattooed athletes who can’t speak simple sentences and mumble their way through idiotic pre- and post-game interviews.

In days gone by reporters cleaned up the quotes of punch-drunk boxers and other athletes. Today, broadcasters are as profane and inane as their subjects too. Then there are elected national leaders who “cuss” in their interviews.

Tragically today’s citizens can be considered victims of the “home training” or the lack thereof. There are no manners it seems. Many parents are so ill-mannered themselves they think the schools and the educators just have to endure the rude and untrained pupils.

Rules and regulations often prevent those in authority from “correcting” unruly students in far too many classrooms.

Instead of yes ma’am, no ma’am, thank you sir youngsters get away with yeah’s and nopes. They may well be doing their things but parents ought to be held accountable for manners, home training before sending offspring out into the community. Preachers of all stripes should be leading the way and not wishy-washy in their sermonizing.

Yes, crime news is a favorite of news consumers, scintillating and keeps the public abreast of the off-kilter conduct which costs governments great deals of money.

One of my favorite school teachers kept control of students with a simple solution – grading.  Bad conduct like sassing the teacher, rudeness or not completing work resulted in “zeroes” on the report card. Administrators stepped in and put the kibosh on this method.

School curriculums should start with Emily Post etiquette classes emphasizing courtesy and maturation.

Naturally many parents would object almost as loudly if public schools required starting the day with the Lord’s Prayer, the Pledge of Allegiance, the Gettysburg Address or the proper way to cook Maryand crab soup.

One of the better weekly reports I see in Frederick are the city and county’s Most Wanted list. These folks aren’t misunderstood. They aren’t innocents either. Most live uneducated, drug-infested and morally bankrupt lives.

Uncaring? Not in the least. Responsibility, good civics and parental guidance make the difference.

Community and political leaders need not feel guilty or throw more money at disruptive people. Hold parents and guardians responsible by issuing tickets with fines for underage conduct.

A president once said “walk softly but carry a big stick.” Another version is “when all else fails, grab the problem by the throat.”

This article has appeared in