The sex abuse crisis among priests and other church personnel has now exploded like napalm across the entire Catholic world. New revelations tell an old story almost every day: that of the suffering of its victims, often in secret and compounded by ecclesiastical ineptitude, inattention, or moral insolvency.
Bulletins from the Human Side
The Reformers of the Reform resemble those who restore and sell antique cars. They labor strenuously to polish up once sleek models out of the '20s and flog them confidently as the next big thing in Catholic life.
It is hard not to believe that Pope Benedict XVI has either a richly cultivated sense of irony or a finely honed capacity, as the saying goes, “to put people on.” What else would explain his advice to Sicilians on his one day visit to that island last autumn? Catholic Culture reports that he urged Sicilians “to be saints” and then, in almost the same breath, offered a quick, sure passage to Heaven by telling them to “reject the Mafia.”
The lack of a sense of humor in the self-designated Reformers of the Reform is matched only by their lack of a sense of irony. Otherwise, they would have noticed the squealing dissonance between their assertions for their new/old translation of liturgical texts and the words of Jesus in the Gospel reading for the 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time.
Part Two of Two
The first common characteristic of set-decorators is their affinity for surfaces. Professing commitment to the depths of the faith, they are obsessed with rustling cassocks, billowing capes, sounding bells and bows, the stuff, in short, with which they can redecorate the set of hierarchical Catholicism. If they build it, these clerics believe, the people will come.
Part One of Two
Decoration: (2) That which decorates or adorns, an ornament, esp. an ornament temporarily put up on a special location; used ... of scenery on the stage.
-- Oxford English Dictionary
Set-decorator: The person responsible for dressing a motion picture set with appropriate decorative furnishings -- furniture, rugs, lamps, draperies, wall paintings, books, etc.
-- The Film Encyclopedia, Third Edition
It is almost overwhelmingly ironic that the military intervention to kill bin Laden -- symbol of the seemingly nothing-in-common state of Islamic–Christian relations -- was a Night Journey, an example of the mythic religious themes that Christianity shares with Islam.
The currently ill-timed, ill-stated, and certainly ill-advised critique of Fordham theologian Elizabeth Johnson's book, Quest for the Living God, is a remake of a slasher movie that Catholics have seen many times. You know the one in which the monster, thought slain in the original film, rises and returns to his pursuit of the innocent. Note that "Inquisition II" contains violence and may not be suitable for younger viewers.
In his last telephone call to me, Joe Feuerherd genially but deftly sought pertinent facts for my obituary for which he was better prepared than I. It was like him, of course, to anticipate things and to turn a potentially cold and unsettling inquiry into a warm and funny exchange.
Norman Mailer advised writers to "learn to kill your little darlings," and "how much you must leave out to get this little bit in."
George Weigel, the not inexperienced author of "The End of the Bernardin Era" amazes the reader with how much he has left out to get so little in and so much wrong.