Archive for March 19th, 2014



Not Negotiable

“I have never understood the expression non-negotiable values. Values are values, and that is it. I can’t say that, of the fingers of a hand, there is one less useful than the rest. Whereby I do not understand in what sense there may be negotiable values.”  –Pope Francis

Does that mean that groups like Catholic Vote and Catholic Answers will a) go out of business or b) apologize and start over?


I think I am officially a lapsed iconographer. It has been that long since I sat down with a brush. On the other hand, I have been drawing a lot in the evenings, spontaneous and fanciful ink drawings. I always have loved drawing in ink; there is a Zen quality to the finality of the thing. And it doesn’t require the material and spiritual preparation of iconography; it is something I can do when I am tired, at the end of the day. Maybe I will post some of these drawings, if I can figure out which ones, if any, are good enough.


Someone, an unbelieving commentator in the comboxes, remarked some time ago that the Catholicism professed here is really a different religion than that of certain other Catholics. Well, yes and no. I have always been struck by the variety of responses to Christ that all wear the Catholic mantle. The religion of my pre-Vatican II childhood, for example, while hardly devoid of mystery, was very big on gaining indulgences, calculated numerically, to offset time in the inevitable purgatorial destination of our souls. The religion of my post-Vatican II adolescence was another thing altogether: guitars at Mass and concern about racial equality reigned, while purgatory was all but forgotten.  They were, in effect, different religions, imposed on my confused soul in quick order.

Or take the modern controversy among traditionalists. The Remnant, a magazine that broke away from The Wanderer because the latter was too liberal (!), has been running a series of videos criticizing Pope Francis. The tattered Remnant is apparently of the opinion that Francis’ religion is not their religion and that theirs is the true one.

Uh, yeah.

I knew the pope was going to have trouble very early in his pontificate, when he washed the feet of young prisoners, some of them women, some of them Muslims, and traditionalists, in a stunning moment of moral blindness, criticized him for breaking the liturgical rules. Such a mentality looks like a different religion than the one that emphasizes love over regulation.

Of course all this variety exists under the mantle of ‘Catholicism’, even though they are essentially very different ways of well, being, because all profess one Creed. But though the Creed is the same, the code is very different.

Which actually gives me hope for the future of the Church.

If Catholicism can embrace what are in effect different religions without fracturing, surely it has a future as a peacemaker among humanity.


Read Full Post »