Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Ash Wednesday

  • Memento, homo, quia pulvis es, et in pulverem reverteris.
  • Lent in a ‘sinless’ age.
  • From Hilary:
    • What she said: I freely admit to being a lousy Catholic. I know all the stuff, but it just sort of sits all the time on the surface while all The Bad bubbles away underneath. Can’t help it.
    • The Pope retiring: not good. Our doctrine remains, no matter the Pope, so the worst we can get is another Paul VI, the man who really brought you the council, a weak appeaser or private heretic (the papacy’s a subset of church infallibility, but that power belongs to his office, not the man), so locally in America for example you’d get a rollback of Benedict’s reforms, a reversion to a low-church version of mainline. If his improved English Novus stays, not too bad; if not, well, trads and the gutsier of the Novus conservatives know how to get by (the SSPX, Greek Catholic parishes or Sunday’s earliest, lowest Novus to just get it over with).
    • After Benedict, the wolves.


  1. "Our doctrine remains, no matter the Pope, so the worst we can get is another Paul VI..."

    I did some quick Google searches on a large sample of the voting cardinals (all of whom, I believe, were raised to the cardinalate by either JPII or BXVI); I'm cautiously optimistic that another Paul VI is not likely, though pre-conclave prediction is usually a fool's game. John Paul II, consistent with his naïveté about people, picked some lousy cardinals, but there just don't seem to be very many old-fashioned Kumbaya liberals headed for the conclave this time. Most of them seem to be JPII-style Novus Ordo conservatives who are too comfortable with the postconciliar order but still solid on moral issues like abortion and contraception, with a significant minority of conciliar critics in the mold of Ratzinger. Even liberal clerics these days probably can sense which way the winds are blowing, and will blow with them to some degree just out of pure self-interest. I'm also cautiously hopeful that Benedict is a good enough shepherd that he wouldn't have abdicated without being fairly confident that he would be replaced by a like-minded man. The next Pope may ignore and neglect the fruits of Benedict's efforts, but it seems unlikely that he'll try to undo them.

    1. Just my intuition which, fortunately for the world, Catholic and Otherwise, is predictably wrong: I sense a foul order in the Vatican curia and among the Cardinals eligible to elect a new Pope. No, I can't prove it, but I just can't forget a statement that Fr. Benedict Groeschel, C.F.R. made in one of the many books of his I have read: "Rome is the place where Communists pray but Prelates don't."

      Of course I am against the resignation! It is a hugely bad idea; there are no three Popes contending for the office or other similar ecclesiastical crisis affecting the Papacy. It is fine by me that a reigning Pontiff continue in office, even in his dotage, until death takes him. The Pope has sufficient sycophants, lapdogs, curial vipers, and decent, faithful, and competent retainers to help him to govern the Universal Church. But it is not my call. I suppose the only thing that one can do this Lent is to pray for Pope Benedict XVI, the man as well as the priest and Pontiff.

  2. Tomasz8:05 am

    I think we need to be optimistic. I am pessimistic myself to the possibility of real liturgical reform yet I believe, I hope that it will be a success. Although I don't have much to complain - compared to the normal German, Italian or American parish the average Polish liturgy in Poland is conservative.

  3. I don't quite understand the reaction to Pope Benedict's decision. It seems to me that he's written and spoken about precisely this aspect of papal succession many times, and that he has quite deliberately shattered a long-standing fallacy about the papacy (i.e. it's an office not a stand-alone sacramental order, not a vehicle for international end-of-life celebrity, etc). There's something peculiar about statements like "Well Jesus didn't step down from the cross so..." or those claiming that a rug has just been pulled out from under them. Such statements seem to arise from an outlook on the papacy that Ratzinger himself has been somewhat critical of.


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