Habemus Papam!(Reprinted from the issue of July 19, 2007)
The tears I wept when Pope John
Whats new? is the question journalists are obsessed by. This Pope tells us whats old or, more to the point, whats eternal. The restoration of the Latin Mass based on the 1962 Missal the healing of a terrible wound in Catholic life (over the objections of some Jewish groups, for whom Catholicism equals anti-Semitism) would be a great enough achievement for one papacy; but not content with that, Benedict has, only days later, served notice to the world that the Second Vatican Council was in no way what some have tried to make it, a reverse of the miracle of Cana the transformation of the wine of Catholicism into the water of liberalism.
One is stunned, electrified, speechless with joy and gratitude, as if witnessing a miracle indeed. Can this really be happening?
Yes, this is still the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church into which I was joyfully received at my own Baptism on an August Sunday in 1961, at age 15. A few years later I was assured, to my inexpressible horror and sorrow, that the Old Church had been in effect abolished or, as the optimists liked to put it, suitably updated to adapt her to the modern world.
Thank God I knew her as she was before Progress struck. Why would anyone think she needed adapting? The new liturgy seemed to me as vulgar, ridiculous, and superfluous as those renditions of Shakespeare into modern English for dopey college students. This was an improvement? Even now my lips yearn to make the old responses: Et cum spiritu tuo ... Domine, non sum dignus. And I pity those who are too young to remember them. They have been cruelly disinherited.
By a lovely coincidence, as I pondered these things, I happened to see Alfred Hitchcocks film
Can the faith ever again become what it was in those days? I no longer doubt it.
The Party from Hell
To turn from the divine to the sordid, the walls are finally closing in on the wretched Bush administration, which is in panic over collapsing support for its war. Republicans in Congress, while voicing reservations, still oppose an immediate withdrawal of American troops, but one more electoral thrashing ought to finish the job. The collapse of John McCains presidential campaign is a hopeful symptom.
Maybe its all to the good that the GOP insists on learning so slowly, the hard way: Next year, please Heaven, may give us a new party to replace them. As Lenin used to say, the worse, the better. Let them nominate Rudy Giuliani and flame out forever. Who would miss them, besides the Zionists?
By the way, if you want refreshing straight talk about the Middle East and Zionism, from a Jew, you may want to read Philip Weisss excellent blog, mondoweiss. Ive loved this man since I discovered him ten years ago.
Dr. Johnsons Cure
Deprived of my library for the foreseeable future, Ive at least managed to recover a beloved piece of it: James Boswells classic, The Life of Samuel Johnson, one of the great treasures of the English language, given to me by a kind young friend. What an antidote to loneliness, among other things!
Its not really a biography, but then, neither are the Gospels. Its the record of a long friendship and of one of the worlds most brilliant conversationalists, a staunch Tory and Anglican with powerful papist leanings and a mortal enemy of cant and nonsense. Ive read it many times, but never with more pleasure than now.
We go to Dr. Johnson (17091784) first because he has amusing opinions on almost every subject under the sun. Amusing is not the first word one would use to describe
Though he wrote poems, essays, criticism, biography, drama, and fiction (he dashed off a remarkably popular little novel in one week!), and also edited the plays of Shakespeare,
Space precludes dealing here with
One word you wont find in his great dictionary is nonjudgmental. Dr. Johnson is one of the most gloriously judgmental men who ever lived.
|Copyright © 2007 by The Wanderer,
the National Catholic Weekly founded in 1867
Reprinted with permission
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