Thursday, May 01, 2014
As the wind builds to a gale.
Ches offers some sage spiritual advice, suggesting St. Francis' example. If nothing else, he certainly captures the mood:
So, what is the relevance of all this? Only that I sense that so many of my readers are probably feeling a little like Theoden at the moment. Hardly a week goes by currently without yet another crazy papal phone call, yet another nutty cardinal promising more madness, and yet another kick in the teeth for simple people of faith. I read today of the suppression of Protect the Pope by the Bishop of Lancaster. Paradoxically, the news arrives twenty-four hours after we read of the rehabilitation of Fr Sean Fagan, a priest whose views were so embarrassingly unCatholic his order bought up remaining copies of his nastiest book. The medicine of mercy would appear to be available but not for the likes of Deacon Nick Donnelly. How did it come to this?
The Fagan release would have been unremarkable had it come with a recanting of his errors. I mean, it was just five years ago that he was deriding and dismissing church teaching. Apparently, "mercy," too, means never having to say you're sorry.
St. Francis is never a bad example, but I'm not sure the times are analogous. Francis (and Luther, whom Ches also discusses) faced venial clerical corruption, not an attempted revolution from above. Don't get me wrong--I think proposals like Kasper's are objectively-corrupt attempts to reach a concordat with debauched modernity, to hell with the consequences. You can assign him points for good intentions if you like, but recall:
My point is not to deride his advice--it is excellent--but rather to suggest that medieval/Renaissance analogues don't quite fit. The one that does fit best is the post-1965 hurricane, which much of our leadership seems to want to reboot. (And I thought we were going to get a reform of the curia--oops.) I don't think we've canonized anyone yet who offered a counter-example to the clerical ineptitude (and worse) of that era. Nor are we likely to, either, as long as nostalgia for that time of discord and confusion remains strong.
But I think seeking out a Saint and emulating the way he or she imaged Christ is a good idea.
As is having him or her help you batten down the hatches before the red-and-black square flag goes up.