Thursday, September 19, 2013

Pope Francis = Bruce Sutter

I'm resisting the temptation to just leave that comparison out there and wait to see who gets it first.


However, I learned a long time ago that my mind makes connections that few at first (or even second and third) glance 'get.'  So, with chastened and humble mind, to explain....

Bruce Sutter was a relief pitcher in 1980s.  He closed out Game 7 against Gorman Thomas and the Milwaukee Brewers in the 1982 World Series.  He also pitched for the Atlanta Braves but....

Anyway, Suter's success came, basically, from one pitch: the split-fingered fastball.  Suter's large hands and long fingers enabled him to grasp the baseball with just his right index and middle fingers (hence 'split-finger').  Batters would see this pitch as a routine fastball, but when the ball approached the plate it would drop suddenly ("like it was rolling off a table" as one baseball cognoscenti once wrote).  Having committed to swinging at the presumed fastball, batters usually whiffed and swung only at air.

Now here's the connection:  Pope Francis seems to have had a similar effect, at least on journalists and other media experts.  Bill Donohue of the Catholic Defense League has identified himself contra Francis as a "John Paul II" Catholic.  Katrina Fernandez, as mentioned before on this blog, has voiced some concern over Francis' liturgical style.  Now Daniel McCarthy of the American Conservative weighs in, but he notices how Francis' style fits into a broader (and older!  even preconciliar!) Catholic pattern.

And I started this post LAST MONTH and just returned in September.  In that time Simcha Fischer has linked JoAnna Wahlund's able deconstruction of the "OMG Pope Francis is our ruin" chorus.  Wahlund makes a very good point, and even that presumes that there's something wrong with Francis.  I don't think there is.  He offers a different papal style, to be sure, and currently several are swinging and missing, much like batters once experienced with Sutter's splitter.  However, as a good friend told me recently:  "Everybody loves Pope Francis...until he writes about sex."  Very true.  That will be a curve ball of a different sort.

REVISIONS!!!  And just moments after posting, two new articles came to light:
Elisabeth Scalia on the idolization of Pope Francis--and how this diminishes Christ

And then Scalia's post about Pope Francis' interview with America.

As before, drops "like it was rolling off a table"....

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