Determined to put down any threat to his already tottering autocracy, Tsar Nicholas allowed his troops to shoot into the crowds who were gathering before his palace seeking to tell him of his people’s widespread grievances. Is this the precedent for deploying Vatican sharpshooters on the roof of St. Peter’s to pick off anybody, from low level Catholics to high ranking Cardinals, who tells the Pope that celibacy may not be the “brilliant jewel” he thinks it is.
Bulletins from the Human Side
The rig rests in the depths of the Gulf bleeding oil from its ruins, bleeding symbolically for the fishermen and workers it has visited with loss. A Tower of media Babel has risen above it, from which pundits analyze the wreck as an economic problem to be calculated, a political crisis not to be wasted, or an engineering puzzle to be solved. But even religious leaders have not yet spoken of this event as a spiritual Mystery that tracks our daily pilgrimage as a biblical pillar of cloud by day and of fire by night did that of the Israelites in Exodus.
Did you know that the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has a secretariat (and I am not making this up) "of clergy, consecrated life and vocations"?
Once bestowed on the clergyman who best exemplified the worst of clerical behavior, the Monsignor Moron Award has been retired out of sensitivity to morons.
New missal translation kills off mystery
You need not be Hercule Poirot to understand that murder is about to be committed on the Disoriented Express. Having taken on coal at the mossy Vatican I station, it is now thundering toward its final destination at Trent, the Grand Central gathering place for "Reformers of the Reform."
Some years ago I asked in a column, "If the church ordained women would there be fewer abortions?" I suggested that recognizing women as fully equal with men would have obviated centuries of the repression, injustice, and pain inflicted on women and cleared the air of the edgy suspicion and anxiety with which many men, including church leaders, have regarded women throughout the centuries.
The beleaguered Pope Benedict XVI has dealt with the sex abuse crisis like a shy bachelor who holds back from stepping onto the dance floor at the parish social. A lifetime of dealing abstractly with men and women from the safe perch of a classroom podium did not exactly prepare him for the immersion in the human rhythms of intimacy that define the dance even on church property.
You can tell them, as the Gospel puts it, a long way off. They are so puffed up with the hot air of self righteousness they resemble a covey of balloons jouncing against each other as they wait for take-off.
These are not just Catholics who want to preserve the Catholic values they cherish; they are rather those who, as careless of the truth as political consultants, sling mud at followers of Vatican II. If they took any more pleasure in denouncing the latter as "cafeteria Catholics" they would almost certainly commit a mortal sin.
Last week, within three days, bishops from three different countries -- Germany, Ireland, and Belgium -- resigned because of being involved, passively or actively or actively and passively in the sex abuse crisis.
Vatican spokesman, Fr. Federico Lombardi announced that the church wanted “truth, transparency, and credibility.”
Catholicism is routinely described by the media as if St. Peter's fronted on the O.K. Corral; the white smoke rises not from a papal election but from the daily gun battle between so called traditionalists and progressives over grazing rights to the famous Square. At other times the latter are termed conservatives and liberals. Religion writers may soon describe them as Vatican Firsters or Vatican Seconders.