Friday, March 15, 2013

Talking heads...

Yes, during papal conclaves I appear on local media: tv, radio, newspaper.  It's a chance to do my part to clarify some of the media's difficulties with things like papal conclaves.  This problem is, apparently, very widespread.

Then there's Eye of the Tiber to keep it all real and serve as a crucial reminder:  the papal conclave involves the Holy Spirit and can't so easily be contained in a media outlet sound bite. 

Addition by Subtraction

We have a new pope!

Cardinal Borgoglio, a Jesuit from Argentina, took the name Francis and now let the analytic games begin.  First religious elected pope since 1831, first Jesuit, first pope from the Americas, first pope not from Europe since 7

Interestingly enough, even John Allen Jr. didn't quite have Francis as a likely candidate.  A pope-maker, but not a serious candidate.  Folks, when Allen misses, the rest of us are WAY WAY off.  Thank you, Holy Spirit.  We aren't divine--YOU ARE.

And with this surprise comes, in the first 48 hours, all sorts of assessments:  Francis is too liberal, too conservative (especially for leftists in Argentina), even too similar to John Paul I (Allen tweeted this on Friday March 15).  Over at Catholic Moral Theology, Charlie Carmosy cheers Francis as a "magenta pope" (neither red nor blue, liberal nor conservative), but then adds "he's no Paul Ryan pope."  David Brooks, always a go-to source for Catholic commentary (uh...), got the Donatist controversy involved and, chutzpah!, sides Francis with St. Augustine.  (Now if that article ever gets into the hands of Pope Francis, I'm sure the Holy Father will have a very good, very hearty  LAUGH.)

Monday, March 4, 2013

the anchor's there...

...we just have to believe it'll hold when we need it, George Weigel reminds us.

Several years ago, during a family vacation to Maine, the Spiritual Diabetes children swam out to a diving platform.  Anchored ashore by a long rope, the platform rose and fell with the tides.  When the kids swam out, it was high tide so the older ones used the rope for guidance.  I had to tell the youngest--who wanted to join the fun out in the water--to use the rope.  "Trust me," I said, "it'll be there."

Weigel's column reminded me of that need for reassurance.  Yet we also need to develop the strength and confidence to swim without always clutching at the guideline.  Ed Peters indicates that even the cardinals wrestle with this.  From EP's Canon Law Facebook:

This struck me as odd.

Per VIS, “During the course of the meeting,” Fr. Lombardi added, “Dean Sodano proposed to the cardinals that, if they sent a message to the Pope emeritus, he would give a written response for one of the following meetings.”

Not a good idea, imho.

Why put the former pope in such a position? He said he wanted to withdraw from public affairs, no? Why not take him at his word? Why invite him to communicate with the College one time, inevitably increasing expectations on him that he communicate again, and on the College that it invite him to communicate again, and/or make others wonder why they did or he does not? Talk about fodder for endless speculation.

Bad idea. Take the man at his word, and leave him alone.
This sedevacante, occurring during Lent as it has, gives the entire Church a chance to reflect, pray, and consider the situation we've left for the next pope.  I say "we" because we the Church, Christ's body, unite in prayer for the conclave and for our pope emeritus, and our actions likewise--both sinful and redemptive--contribute to that body's stature.  
 And while we can injure the body, its health has another guarantor, doesn't it?

Friday, March 1, 2013

we're over here and you're over there

Sometimes you need to set things out before you begin, a prologomena of sorts, because darn it otherwise some folks start thinking that, y'know, we're all really alike.

OK, yes, we're all sinners, I get that, but you know what I mean.  There are differences in this world and the trouble starts when we act as if those distinctions don't exist.

Like this interview by Kathryn Jean Lopez at National Review;  pets outnumber children more than four to one.

W-T-F?  No, seriously....