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A beautiful chapel!

I myself feel more grieved than serene at the situation Douthat describes. I'd really like to think he's wrong. I read some negative reviews of his book by liberal Catholics, hoping that they'd be able to convince me that he's wrong. But it didn't work.

It is, and my photo doesn't come close to doing it justice. Yesterday was the first time I'd seen it, and I was expecting something much plainer. And would have been happy with something much plainer (which is not to say ugly). So it was a very pleasant surprise.

I'm only serene in the sense of no longer fretting about it, not thinking "Is this happening or is it not?" Yes, it's happening.

Well, I read Craig's because he wrote it, and I read yours because you wrote it, and now I'm through. ;-)

That chapel is very, nice. I'm so glad you have the use of it. I could not go to Mass yesterday, I can count on the fingers of one hand how many times that has happened in the last 40 years. I hadn't realized it was Corpus Christi for some reason, and now I'm even sadder. How appropriate that your first Mass looking at that inscription was Corpus Christi. One of the parishes in Memphis has that inscribed on the front of the altar. It occurs to me that Protestant communion tables frequently say "Do This in Remembrance of Me," which is nice, but "Verum, etc." tells the whole story. ;-)

I would love it if they still read the "Last Gospel."

I always wonder why blog comboxes request your email address. You can't see it, can you? I can't see them on my blog.


I can see the email addresses on my blog, through the administrator's back-end. It can be a helpful way to identify spammers.

(Naturally, my first response to comments saying, "This is a very interesting article" is to assume they are genuine.)

I knew I should have put my new blog on WordPress.


I found this guy's take on the book to be intriguing:


The author of the piece writes, "This book is not just for Catholics. It is for anyone who is interested in the dissemination of ideas in time and space, the limitations of the world’s most important office, and the possibility of objective moral truths in the age of spin and silence."

I think I should probably read it, as I'm interested in all those things.

Funny, I came across that review yesterday but didn't have time to read it at the moment. It's still open in a browser tab. I'll read it later today.

Janet, like WordPress, Typepad has a way for the blogger to view the email address and a lot of other stuff about comments. I'm a little surprised that Blogger doesn't, if it's capturing that info. What's the point? I think also that whether or not the email address is required is configurable but it's been a long time since I touched those settings. Anyway, it's currently not required.

Well, I spent too many hours on the design (hard as that may be to believe) to change it now.


It's not part of the design in Typepad. I just looked and as I thought I remembered it's just a checkbox--do you want to require an email address, yes or no? Kind of surprising that Blogger wouldn't let you change that easily, but I haven't logged in to my Blogger account for many years. When Google bought Blogger years ago they didn't make any improvements at all, as I had thought they would. Maybe they still haven't.

It is terrible. When you are designing a blog, you have to choose from several templates, and each one has only certain things you can control. For instance, on one template you can choose the text color for posts, and on another you cannot. This is on the advanced page. On one, you can just get a gadget for recent comments; on another, you have to get a text gadget and put in the html for a recent comments. For people like me, this means you have to go out looking for it, and find some that don't work before you find one that does. There is one place where you can just put code to change background color or things like that, but I can only get it to work for one specific thing. You can't have a list of things. Ugh.


"I have absolutely no control and there is no action I can take."

I think we can't think that way, because as lame as it feels to me to say that we can fast and pray, if we are really as concerned about this as we ought to be we ought to be doing something serious along those lines, like choosing a specific thing and a specific day and being very intentional about it. It is a powerful thing. People can try to change things by politics or a lot of blather or whatever. The enemy has really good defense against all that stuff, but he has no defense against prayer and fasting.


Not that I have done this yet, but I am going to.


"I think we can't think that way, because as lame as it feels to me to say that we can fast and pray..."

Oh yeah, that goes without saying. But it doesn't hurt to say it anyway. :-) I only meant it in worldly terms--ecclesiastical politicking, griping to the pope, etc. Blogging....

And btw Blogger sounds as bad as ever. I guess Google just doesn't consider it important, as they're constantly improving or "improving" other products. But I guess also that it still has enough users that they don't want to drop it.

Well, considering what it costs me, I guess I shouldn't complain. What do they get out of it anyway?


I don't know. Your blog is not plastered with their advertising, so...? Maybe that has something to do with their neglect.

"I mentioned in that earlier post that I had an uneasy feeling about Pope Francis from the beginning, and by "the beginning" I mean the moment he stepped out on the balcony after his election."

I believe a number of people had that same feeling. I didn't see the footage at the time, but I was just generally uneasy about the resignation etc.

"In John LeCarre's Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, part of the plot hinges on the fact that the "mole" in the British intelligence establishment knows that the man trying to identify him is fair-minded and will attempt to discount evidence that he can attribute to his own bias. So the mole more or less deliberately does something that he knows will cause the mole-hunter to be prejudiced against him, in the expectation that the hunter will be suspicious of his own suspicions."

Sounds like a species of gaslighting.

"Another factor that made me want to resist my inclination was the reaction of many or most politically conservative American Catholics to Francis's statements on politics, economics, and ecology."

I find it impossible to speak to them about these things, so I usually don't bother.

"the war not only had not ended but had no end in sight, certainly not within my lifetime, possibly not within the lifetime of anyone reading this today."

Yes, it's grim.

"As Douthat notes, the progressives were simultaneously denouncing those who were concerned that important teachings were being changed, and rejoicing that they were, proclaiming "new paradigms" and whatnot."

Their malignance is demonic.

"So here is Douthat to say, with ample documentation and sound reasoning to support him, that:

those who are concerned are not imagining things;
there is a powerful faction which wants to change the Church's traditional teachings on divorce and possibly other sex-related (of course) matters;
the implications of such a change are enormous and go far beyond the specific questions being debated;
the pope is on the side of the changers;
conflict is likely to be the state of the Church for many years to come.

Whatever else may be said about this book, it is not frenzied and paranoid. On the contrary, though Douthat's views are clear, he goes out of his way to be restrained, judicious, and fair to opposing views."

This is a handy summary, thanks.

"Instead the theological crisis that he set in motion has made Catholicism more self-referential, more inward-facing, more defined by its abstruse internal controversies and theological civil wars."

I agree

"I'm grieved that the Church is most likely going to be torn by factionalism for some time to come, and that the confident outward turn I had hoped for is not going to happen."

I feel the same.

"But there is a certain relief, and a certain serenity, in accepting that this is in fact the state of affairs."


"The curious papal absolutism which now comes from progressives sometimes takes the form of the question "Don't you trust the Holy Spirit to guide the Church?" (And sometimes it's the direct accusation that you don't.) Yes, I do."

Me too.


That is a beautiful chapel.

The resignation is probably going to trouble the Church for a long time. I mean apart from its effects--just the fact of it. Seems like whenever a pope gets past 80 or so or just generally gets very old and feeble, there will be a tendency for people to think "Just resign." I'm still puzzled as to why Benedict did it.

You might find the Douthat book worthwhile. It's really very fair but also unillusioned.

I agree with you about the resignation. I probably would appreciate the book. Thanks.

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