Tuesday, June 26, 2012

From TAC
  • Romney’s candidacy’s meaningless. Again, all he has to do is let the Dinkins effect and blame for the depression do the work. He’ll be the next president.
  • Philadelphia’s institutional church. With Chaput’s arrival, the hard decisions that ought to have been made a long time ago are finally being made, and a corner has been turned. I remember when I first arrived in Philly, back in 2010, having a conversation with a very well-informed and committed Catholic, who was quite melancholy about the situation in the archdiocese. He told me that most of his fellow Catholics there had no real idea how perilous the situation for the RC church there was. He wasn’t talking at all about the abuse scandal. He was talking rather about the complacency and the belief that all those buildings, and all that history, would protect the archdiocese from decay. I said something like that years ago. Under Paul VI and John Paul II the archdiocese wasn’t a Modernist Ground Zero like other parts of the country but it wasn’t really conservative either, just parochial and complacent. What you’re seeing is partly the self-inflicted damage of getting caught in the Underage Gay Screw-Up but mostly the decline of cultural Catholicism because of Vatican II (the church shooting itself in the foot) and a more hostile larger culture. Around 1950 cultural Catholicism dominated the Northeast US thanks to European immigration and was nearly entirely accepted by a Protestant America still relatively religious and orthodox. Again: in Philly, good riddance to the ’70s-style youth office, newspapers are dead, the schools were long compromised by Vatican II and it’s sad that 50-100-year-old parishes have died. But like I said, this wasn’t AmChurch Central. Pope Benedict’s church in fighting trim can come from this. I just go to Sunday Mass as if the Novus Ordo didn’t exist, with stalwarts who tried to keep the old Mass all these years, young trad families, locals who live in the parish and a few Anglo-Catholic alumni. Keeping my nose in my missal and hoping to cross the finish line in the state of grace.
  • Regarding the underage gay cover-up: I spoke to a lawyer friend last week, someone who is intimately familiar with the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. N. told me that it’s widely known among the clergy and insiders that Lynn was the scapegoat for the late Cardinal Bevilacqua. “Just following orders” doesn’t exonerate Lynn, but the idea that the buck stopped with this one guy is wrong. I hate to credit the enemies of the church jumping all over the parallel to Penn State but churchmen brought this on themselves. The cardinal and Paterno came from a generation and culture that were better, and had the power to do the right thing, but didn’t.

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