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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Mmm, yeah, Peter...

Life intrudes, as it often does. The play, then the Advent run-up to Christmas.

My kids shone brightly in the theatre, and I was especially proud of Madeleine. She had the lead role, which doesn't have much in the way of laughs. I had more (built-in) laugh lines, and Rachel had a scene which she could chew like a plug of Hawken. And did, to the delight of the crowd. Dale's lines were also deliberately funny.

Maddie had to carry the play, as there was only one scene that didn't feature her framing commentary. She did so brilliantly. If I know you, I'd be happy to show off the DVD once we get it.

As to the rest, well, it's the usual mix of busy, busier and infuriating. The last features my *#@$ driver's side car door. Which now won't open properly, and is damaging the front quarter panel, slowly bending it in, every time I open it.

I. Don't. Even.

But everyone's pretty much healthy, we're getting prepped for Christmas (ham this year, a first) and things are slowly slowing down again.

I've decided I'm going to finish the Maradiaga analysis and then walk away from pope stuff for a while. I printed up a copy of EG, read a bit, and then tossed it into the recycler. I'm not particularly interested in reading it further at this point, and we don't need more unattended clutter in the burrow.

Frankly (no pun intended), I don't get this pope, and I'm no longer interested in trying to get him. He's going to recede to the background of my spiritual life, he and his intentions the subject of the regular family rosary, remembered as part of the liturgy on holy days of obligation, and...that's it. Like it was in the old days, before instant information made it possible for someone to be omnipresent.

Honestly, I'm not one for being hectored and scolded into action, much less into joy. Seems rather counter-intuitive to me, actually. The whole "Beatings will continue until morale improves" school of thought. In fact, one of the things I've always appreciated about Catholicism is that it's not a monochrome, in-your-face, feel-the-brotherhood-in-the-spirit, no-really-FEEL-IT kind of religion. Yes, it has that component--but it's an option among many. Or at least it was. In the new dispensation, the breakroom poster reads Joyful Newness! and woe unto thee, oh sourpuss, who happens to have a case of the Mondays.

Hey, if you're inspired by this papacy, don't let me stomp your buzz. Please. Good on you, and I hope you make the most of it. If it inspires you to grow in the Lord Jesus, drawing others to Christ and offering the works of mercy--that's fantastic! Do so, and be a saint. And I mean that sincerely, despite my (well-deserved) reputation for sarcasm.

For my part, I've grown tired of trying to explain my non-fan-ness. And it seems that many of those who are more laudatory have pretty well washed their hands of the other side, too, lumping us together with cranks and apostates. Eh, so be it. There are worse things than mutual incomprehension.

It's going to be an interesting ride, one I fear filled with interesting compromises, interesting disciplinary decisions (moral of the story? Orders being investigated had better (1) be rich like the LCs, and (2) not celebrate the EF) and potentially interesting decisions regarding the sacramental life of the Church.

I'll just be over here for a while, sitting quietly. I'll pop up on other boards and in other conversations, but apart from that and barring a major development, I'm done commenting on the Francis Effect.

So, what's going on with you guys?


  1. My attitude is that from studying the history of the Church it doesn't surprise me that much that thus far Pope Francis usually strikes me as wrong headed and uninspiring. All sorts have worn the shoes of the Fisherman and we had a lucky run with John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI. It is distressing that I suspect Pope Francis is dedicated to undoing much of their good work, but no papacy lasts forever and the Church will endure.

  2. I hear you, Dale.

    Grinding through a never ending project at my new job. Still trying to figure out what I want to do when I grow up. For now, this pays the bills, Deo gratias.

    I, too, need to quit paying attention to Rome and all its pomps and works.

    New parish is good. Family is good, although we've had more illness the last 5 months than I recall dealing with in a long time. Another little one on the way.

    Obviously, you've got a lot on your plate but if you could ever get us some SM Stirling book reviews or some Byzantine write-ups, I'd be much obliged. :D

    Y'all enjoy the Greater Ferias and have a Buon Natale!

  3. Glad to hear it, Flambeaux! Except for that project thing. Especial congratulations on the newest addition to the family--that's awesome!

    I am definitely going to shift into a book review mode--and I have some interesting Stirling and Byzantium books to talk about.

    A blessed Advent and Merry Christmas to you and yours, too!

  4. Don:

    It's still really too early to tell about the impact. It's just that I'm exhausted with the hype, am experiencing disquiet about the initial moves, and I'm done with chasing after the latest tea leaf to try to reassure myself or otherwise gain insight.

    I feel like screaming, a la William Shatner at the SNL Star Trek convention sketch:


  5. Might we bring you out of retirement to comment on the very obvious, public humiliation in Cardinal Burke's being unceremoniously dropped from the Congregation On Bishops? Also, the fact that for the first time in 100 years there will be no CDF representation on this Congregation. And here, in my view, the first concrete steps in the direction Francis plans to take the Church: An end to the project of John Paul II/Benedict XVI and an obvious de-emphasis of doctrine. Watch carefully as the Church dissolves into the culture.

  6. Anonymous: yeah, perhaps. I did link to the Burke story, so I'm aware of it. In addition to Burke, two Italian Benedict appointees were also given the boot. I was not aware of the CDF representation aspect. That's...bad news.

    But, yes, pastoral burial of doctrine seems to be in the wind. Let me do a little more research before I commit. In the meantime, pray, as the headwinds begin to grow.

  7. Pretty much in the same boat as you. I cringe whenever I hear non-Catholics proclaiming "I love this Pope," realizing for all their love they will never actually become Catholics, and that all of this "pastoral" lovey-doviness will not enhance the Church and may in fact drive more away.

    At any rate, my family expands and all is well. Please pray for us though as the baby goes for her hearing test today. She didn't pass in the hospital (in the left ear, anyway) and one subsequent test. We are fairly sure it's either a fluid thing or just her squirminess thus far, but we will not be fully at ease until she passes.

  8. "I was not aware of the CDF representation aspect. That's...bad news."

    Don't believe every anonymous claim you read on the Internet. At least one member of the CDF -- appointed by Pope Benedict, no less, who also appointed him as Archbishop of Washington and made him a cardinal -- is on the Congregation for Bishops.

  9. A correction is in order. I should have indicated that it was the first time in 100 years that the Prefect of CDF hasn't been member of CFB. My apologies. Feel any better, Tom? I don't.

  10. I do feel slightly better, to have a minor miscommunication cleared up.

    The fact itself doesn't make me feel anything, one way or another, since I don't believe that the office of prefect of the CDF necessarily confers on its holder the charism of prudence in choosing bishops, nor do I know enough about Cardinal Mueller to have an opinion about the impact to the Catholic Church his absence from CFB will have.

  11. Tom, do you mean that Levada represents the CDF ("at least one member of the CDF")?

  12. I was referring to Cardinal Wuerl, who is empirically the sort of bishop Benedict would pick for Washington, and for the CDF, and for a red hat. In this appointment, at least, Pope Francis is not undoing, but continuing his predecessor's work.


  13. It looks like a feeling in search of a justification. No CDF guy on Bishops. O woe! Oops, we forgot somebody. No CDF head on Bishops. O woe!

    I have to confess the conservative spinning on Pope Francis is wildly entertaining.

    For example: there are so few *real* experts on doctrine; they all must have been subsumed into the CDF. I nominate Donald. We need a good lay person on Bishops, and he's as good as any, I suppose.


  14. Here's something that's wildly entertaining, Todd, being a faithful Catholic and unconcerned when, in effect, Wuerl fills a chair formerly occupied by Mueller. But then again, what faithful Catholic will continue to be so once Frank the Hippie Pope's "culture of encounter" has enveloped us? Few I suspect.

  15. And as to Wuerl being the quintessential choice of Benedict, not in the teeth of having a clown like Francis at the helm. Choices of this kind are not made in isolation from one another, and the environment right now is decidedly shaky.

  16. 1:53 Anonymous,

    I think it's one thing to place one's name and links out there and be sturdy in one's critique of public persons and church elements. It's another to hide behind anonymity and resort to adolescent name-calling.

    I happen to agree that the effective "consequences" of the Duck Dynasty person are lamentable. He, at least, was willing to be courageous about his personal opinions. You, perhaps, not so much.

    Madam/sir: consider yourself called out for cowardly behavior. What would your confessor or spouse or parent say?

  17. Oh, good grief, Todd, give me a break. Your high horse needs a bath. In any event, who are you to judge, right?

    As is typical of the pope's ever vigilant Golf-Clap Brigade, you seem to be missing the forest for the trees. Of course, one must wonder if a fellow who runs a blog called Catholic Sensibility has much of a leg to stand on when criticizing others of being prone to a feeling in search of facts. If you want to see what such emotive groping actually looks like, read Allen's and Winters's pieces at the NCR about this shake-up. Their Yuletide glee is all of piece with those decidedly left-of-center moguls who can't stop feeling galvanized by this papacy.

    The diminishment of a CDF influence among the new roster of episcopal king makers is just one tile in a larger mosaic. In the same way, "Burke and Wuerl" are metonyms for the larger shift in ecclesiastical geometry. The rise of Baldisseri alone should give us reason to tug a bit at our collars. By my lights, the latest leftist shuffle is just an entrenchment of the dubious trend embodied by the C-8.

    My name is Elliot Bougis, by the way, if that helps you take these realities more seriously.

  18. How about if we start with some adult name calling and observe that you are just the most insufferable and presumptuous ass I've encountered in sometime. Not that its any of your business but I chose to post here anonymously because Discus and the other commenting services I prefer to use elsewhere simply aren't available to me here. I'm new to the site - just a few days - and haven't been sure whether I'd want to bother with anything more intensive than anonymous posting, actually. But you're making that decision easy. Count on my being here. And just so you'll know who I am, I'm Ernst Thalmann and I'll make absolutely sure that you remember the name every time I encounter you here or elsewhere on the web. But that will require enough courage of you to list the whole of your name, little guy. Have you got the guts for that? Somehow I'd doubt that. Funny how the pot calls the kettle black, isn't it? You can apologize now.

    Ernst Thalmann

  19. Bah! You two are just steamed because someone you don't consider a faithful and virtuous Catholic called some anonymous name-caller out on a juvenile expression.

    Just man up on this, admit you were wrong, and move along.

  20. What's you last name, Todd?

    Ernst Thalmann

  21. Mr Thalmann, my last name is prominent both on my web site (click link) as well as on a comment at 11:59am this morning.

    Still: no apology forthcoming. O well.

  22. That's better, Todd. And just remember, to you it will always be Mr. Thalmann.

    Ernst Thalmann

  23. "Frankly (no pun intended), I don't get this pope, and I'm no longer interested in trying to get him. He's going to recede to the background of my spiritual life, he and his intentions the subject of the regular family rosary, remembered as part of the liturgy on holy days of obligation, and... that's it. Like it was in the old days, before instant information made it possible for someone to be omnipresent."