Ransom Notes: Who Asked You?
Although nobody asked for my opinion on these bits of news, I have a few things to say.
First. Finally, the head of a major Christian denomination with a grain of sense! The bleeding-heart-liberal Archbishop of Canterbury has informed the world that it is not racist to oppose mass migration. http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-35781613. While calling upon England to do more than it is doing to help so-called Syrian so-called refugees, he said that it was "outrageous" to describe fears about the migrant crisis as racism. Archbishop Welby is as leftwing as most English and North American bishops and ministers of the Anglican communion, but unlike too many of them, he has more than a drop of common sense and Christian charity toward his own people.
Second. "Conservative" Catholics have been tweeting and bleating their dissatisfaction with the prankster in the Vatican. A Reuter's Story quotes a number of them, including one Ross Douthat, a columnist with the New York Times. (Since there have been no conservative columnists at the New York Times for decades, we have to suspect Mr. Douthat is the Catholic equivalent of David Brooks.)
Popes are like the weather--sometimes good, sometimes not-so-good, and sometimes they turn out to be Leo X. We have to endure most of them, and, when a good one comes along, we should resist the temptation to adore him. We can respect the office without necessarily admiring the man or endorsing his trendy opinions. Catholics are supposed to believe in the Tradition, which means they are not looking for anything new from Saint Peter's successors. The best we can hope for are Pontiffs who apply the old teachings to new challenges. If they have bright ideas of their own, they will be forgotten as soon as the puff of smoke announces the selection of a new Pope.
Who is the last Pope to tell us something we did not already know? My guess is that it was St. Peter. Who was the last creative thinker on the chair of Peter? My choice would be Gregory the Great, a sometimes puzzling writer whose work are filled with insights. I am not sure that it is even a good idea for modern Popes to think too much. Their job is not to play at being philosophy professors or theology teachers. I honor and salute the achievements of Popes like Pius IX and Leo XIII, who reorganized the defense of the Tradition in the 19th century, but when I am searching for truth in the Tradition I start at the beginning, first with the Scriptures, then go to Apostolic Fathers, and to the great doctors of the Church. As a Catholic I can cheerfully accept or even endure the current occupant of the papal throne. I shall not make the mistake of William Buckley and his NR gang, in their heading, "Mater si, magistra no," because I have no interest in the uninformed economic prejudices of either Paul VI or Francis I, but, at the same time, I shall not make the mistake made by too many Catholic conservatives whose disappointment in a Pope's human frailties lead them into schism. (By the way, I don't get upset with the schismatics either.) Becoming a Christian, a Catholic, or a Pope is no guarantee of intelligence or even sanity. We do what we can.
3) Has everyone seen the video of Ted Cruz's father giving his insane spin on the Old Testament to prove that son Ted is God's anointed instrument for despoiling the wicked of their wealth and enriching the faithful? The footage includes the ravings of the mega-church pastor Larry Huch and sexy rock band girls jiggling their charms onstage.
Here is a simple question. Can anyone explain how any of this has anything to do with Christianity? Let me be frank for a change. I doubt Ted Cruz is dumb enough to fall for this nonsense, but if he is, he should not be allowed into the criminal society of the US Senate, much less the White House. A criminal yes, we are used to that, but a lunatic, no. Whether he does or does not believe, Cruz's religious associations strike me as whackier than Mitt Romney's. Give me the cheerful insouciance of Trump who claims to have eaten that wafer thing on many many occasions.
It is not just Cruz who is scary. We have a country with tens of millions of these money-grubbing freaks who pretend that their cult meetings--based on 19th century speculations of ignorant preachers--are Christian. I am not talking about Protestants--these zanies are as far from the mind of Luther, Calvin, and Cramner as they are from Thomas Aquinas. As I watched Pastor Larry Huch--Hell-bent on outdoing the zany antics of Joel Osteen and Rick Warren--I could only wish for a return of the Inquisition. Better no religion at all than this cult of greed and smugness!