Friday, October 17, 2014

obligatory Synod blog post

Quite frankly, it's not much.  1) Everybody else is writing about it and I'm trying to figure out for myself just what has been said and why.  The Cardinal Kasper fiasco has only muddied things further.  2) Life's busyness factor has kicked it up a notch or two (or five) around here so time has not been in great supply.

That being said, this post from Artur Rosman seemed hit a number of good notes-with a sense of humor too.  He closes with this:

If that that’s not enough for you, the highly respected Church historian Robert Louis Wilken weighs in with this:
And so began… a time when leading bishops of the Church disagreed profoundly on central matters of Christian teaching. Ecclesiastical councils publicly debated deep theological issues, with the aim of reaching consensus on language to express central Christian beliefs in formal statements of faith. The disagreements ran deep, and the disputes were often bitter and sometimes violent.
Gotcha! This quote actually comes from Robert Louis Wilken’s history of Christianity, The First Thousand Years. The Aquinas and mysticism scholar Fritz Bauerschmidt dropped this passage on social media explaining that it applies to Church history stretching from the start of the fourth century to the middle of the sixth. That’s one long stretch of time. Bauerschmidt adds the following comment, which all would be Synod commentators should heed:
It’s déjà vu all over again. Somehow I find that comforting.

Read it all:

And continue praying for the Church.

Monday, September 29, 2014

best laid plans

This blog is going on semi-hiatus.   Please keep in touch via and Twitter @SpiritualDiabet.  Yes, it'll return, but posts will be spotty for a while.  How long that while lasts remains to be seen.  Pray for the Church, Pope Francis, the clergy, all the faithful, and for the sick, poor, dying, and lonely.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

new blog

Mark Shea recommended Leticia's new blog.  Even the shortest glance indicated that, not only was Shea right (about this and much more), but I think I might have some competition for that coveted "St. Augustine award for off-beat Catholic humor blog."  She introduces herself:

I am a hot mess convert who loves Jesus and has a scandalous sense of humor. I love music,reading, writing. If I am ever canonized I will be the patron saint of people who can’t stop cussing.

 Well, we'll see about that.  I usually reserve discussions of canonization for, well, y'know, those becoming saints.  However, I've certainly populated that "can't stop cussing" crowd more than once.  Ha ha.

Best wishes for what looks like a great new addition to the Catholic blogosphere!

another angle on the familiar tensions

conventional wisdom:  PreVatican II= conservative, post-Vatican II=liberal but submarined by lurking conservatives, now rehabilitated by Pope Francis.

OK, so we've all heard that tune before.  But then consider this reading of the same period;  the Benedictines, supporting Pope St. Pius X, set up the Mass as the high point of Catholic prayer while the Jesuits give a prominent role to individual reflection (following the lead of St. Ignatius Loyola).

Read it all here.

This conclusion seemed particularly interesting:
Perhaps the most ironic twist in this still unresolved (and now more complicated) debate is the contrast between the current pope and his predecessor. Although not a Benedictine by profession, Benedict XVI closely identified throughout his career with the monastic vision of the all-pervasive centrality of the sacred liturgy, where God and man can meet most profoundly in praise and in communion, at once expressing and accomplishing the unity of the Mystical Body of Christ. At his first general audience in April 2005, he explained that he had chosen the name Benedict in large part as a homage to the Father of Western Monasticism, co-patron of Europe and architect of Christian civilization. With the first Jesuit and overseas pope, we have a pastor who appears to hold many of those modern Jesuit views that Blessed Columba Marmion and other Benedictines, in the name of fidelity to St. Pius X, so stalwartly resisted in the first half of the twentieth century, and that Ratzinger/Benedict himself patiently opposed in his writings and magisterial acts. We have unexpectedly seen the trajectories of the two schools played out before our very eyes in the magisterium, ars celebrandi, and priorities of each pontificate.

Quite honestly, while intrigued I am not quite ready to accept this too readily. After all, St. Ignatius Loyola made it pretty clear:  we are to think with the Church (see #353).  Still, it's an incredibly helpful perspective when considering the state of contemporary Catholicism. Which, btw, a recent poll indicates there remains much room for improvement.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014


Over at Crux, the new Boston endeavor by John Allen, Jr., the man himself addresses the recent run of papal appointments.  Conservatives have been enlathered by the demotion (real or perceived) of Cardinal Raymond Burke, and the recent appointment of Bishop Blase Cupich to the Archdiocese of Chicago. Allen, though, points to recent appointments to the International Theological Commission. Then he surmises:

To be clear, all of these people are accomplished thinkers who are eminently qualified to advise the Vatican on doctrinal matters. It’s hard not to be struck, however, by the fact that they seem to come largely from one side of the street.

So, what gives? Is Francis suffering from multiple personality syndrome, or is there another explanation?

Yes, there is:  we're seeing now Francis' vision coming into focus, and it's not, Allen argues, what some think or fear.

Yet Francis is a hands-on pope, and he wouldn’t sign off on these decisions if he weren’t aware of what they meant. 

Perhaps the best hypothesis is that what Francis is really after isn’t a turn to the left, but a new balance. He’s said he wants the church to be in dialogue with everyone, and one way to accomplish that is to ensure a mix of points of view in leadership positions. 

Pope John XXIII allegedly once said, “I have to be pope both for those with their foot on the gas, and those with their foot on the brake.” Though the saying may be apocryphal, the wisdom is spot-on, and Francis’ recent personnel moves seem to reflect some of the same thinking.

Read the whole thing here.

Monday, September 15, 2014

bet the readers didn't see THAT coming...

Elizabeth Scalia, editor of the Catholic portal at (a great set of Catholic blogs there!), links to Roger Cohen of the New York Times.  As Scalia relates, Cohen says what everybody should recognize but rarely want to express:  things are not going well.  Scalia:

It is, finally, perhaps a time of dawning realization that the centers are not holding; old orders are in extremis; new orders are in capricious adolescence.
The troubles briefly enumerated in this sobering op-ed are only the most obvious issues. They are the pebble tossed into the pond, rippling outward in ever-widening circles — expanding to include a unique “time” of global crisis: governments failing at every level, everywhere; churches are divided, their freedoms challenged; citizens are distracted, dissatisfied and distrustful, their election mechanisms in doubt; schools are losing sight of the primary mission of education; families are deconstructed and the whole concept ripe for dissolution; respect for human dignity is doled out in qualified measures; there is a lack of privacy; a lack of time to think, to process and to incarnate; a lack of silence.
The Book of Judges closes at 21:25: "In those days there was no king in Israel; all the people did what was right in their own eyes."

Yep, that pretty much nails it.
But Scalia doesn't stop there.

as anniversaries approach...

I will take a few stabs at gauging what it all means. Here's a first shot over at the St Joseph's Theology blog...