Monday, April 30, 2018

A good deed

Pope Francis took a vigorous role in the ultimately unsuccessful attempt to save Alfie Evans from the clutches of the UK's National Health Service. It was exactly the right thing to do, and it has helped the Papacy regain a modicum of its moral authority.

I've deplored the many missteps we've had to endure during Francis' papacy, but Credit Where Credit is Due. He got this one very right.

Monday, April 16, 2018

We shouldn't have been surprised

Since the beginning of his pontificate, people have been lauding Pope Francis as an exceptionally humble man (usually with the veiled false accusation that his predecessors were not so). So in the light of his frequent demonstrations that he will brook no opposition, and his rudeness in dismissing the legitimate requests from Cardinals that he clarify his notoriously careless and ambiguous remarks and writings, one wonders whether we should have seen this coming. It's worthwhile to note that his very first Papal action -- his choice of name -- should have given us warning that not all was as humble as was claimed.

For more than a thousand years, no Pope since Lando (913-914), had adopted a name that had never been used before. Of his two predecessors, St. John Paul II took the names of John XXIII and Paul VI, and Benedict took a name used by fifteen previous popes.

But along comes Jorge Bergoglio, and he must have something new and different.

If you are truly humble when taking on the mantle of St. Peter, perhaps you choose a well-worn papal name, one that will emphasize your sense of being an unworthy part of a worthy tradition.

Perhaps, if he had been a reader of Charles Dickens, he should have taken a different brand-new name: Uriah.

Not as in The Hittite, but as in Heep.