20 April 2018

Habemus Papam!

Looking back to those happy days when Pope Benedict was elected, I recall two video clips which I would like to see again. This is how I remember them. Any links?

(1) Margaret Hebblethwaite, small red-haired widow of  an ex-Jesuit whose 'papal biographies' were far from reliable, was caught on camera at the moment the white smoke went up, in shrill panic. She knew that, for an election to have been made so soon, "It must be Ratzinger".

(2) The same lady, later on, trying to button-hole Cormack Murphy O'Connor and being shouldered aside. Poor Cormack looked as though he had his own grief-management problems ...

"UNHELPFUL"!

"UNHELPFUL". That was the word used by Boris Johnson's Foreign and Commonwealth Office to describe a mission last Saturday. Members of the House of Lords, and some Anglican Clergy, went to Damascus.

They included Michael Langrish, emeritus Bishop of Exeter. I spent some years in his Diocese; I can assure you that he is not an eccentric; not some wild firebrand; not a barmy Trot.

They met Syrian hierarchs and politicians. They went to the Liturgy on Sunday.

I was not previously aware through the British Media of the united statement by three Patriarchs of Syrian Churches, both Catholic and dissident, condemning the recent Western military intervention in Syria. Such things just don't seem to grab the headlines, do they? Western politicians and journalists never have shown the slightest interest in the beleaguered Christian communities which have lived in the Middle East since centuries before Islam was even invented. Considering the determination of the cultural elites here in the West to destroy the last remnants of Christendom in our own sick and depopulating countries, this is hardly surprising.

What we are seeing in Syria is simply the current stage of  'the Arab Spring' so enthusiastically encouraged by Western politicians. While they were cheering it on, they never thought it would lead to anything like the Syrian catastrophe. Of course not. They anticipated a comfortable domino effect of regime-change which would lead to "Parliamentary Democracy" throughout the Middle East ... you know, Black Rod, the Mace, State Opening of Parliament, and all that.

President Assad of Syria, despite his British background, unaccountably refused to act out the script they had written for him. He probably felt nervous reservations about being hauled out of a sewer, sodomised with a knife, and then shot, like Gaddhafi in Libya. It's all a matter of these little details of perspective, isn't it? Middle-Easterners often haven't been to Eton and so they don't see things in the same balanced sort of way that Boris does. Western politicians have never forgiven Assad for this appalling lack of good manners in refusing to walk down the path they had mapped out for him. For a decade, their foolish mantra has been "Assad must go; ruat caelum".

There have been atrocities galore in Syria. I don't applaud anybody who has had any part in any of them. And, among those who seem to me to have a big share of guilty responsibility, are all the Western politicians who encouraged "the Syrian moderate opposition" to believe that, were they to take up arms against Assad, they would get our support. Nod Nod, Wink Wink. Until: "Oops-a-daisy there's a Russky round the corner. Sorry; you're on your own after all".

I do wish that the political class in my country could grasp that political situations are rarely as univocally straightforward as they like to believe. Stuff ... the unexpected ... happens, and it's not the FCO cat but other people who do the dying. This simple historical reality is, curiously, beyond the comprehension of outwardly sane people many of whom read PPE at Oxford (to be pedantic: that is one crime Boris has not committed). Perhaps the sum of human happiness would be increased if that particular faculty could have a (precisely targetted) cluster-bomb dropped on it.

'UNHELPFUL'. I know all about that word. It is part of the vocabulary Establishment People use in my country when they want to effect a disdainful put-down. It avoids explanation, because an explanation can always be analysed ... an explanation might prove to be a hostage to Fortune. And UNHELPFUL doesn't sound too shrill. UNHELPFUL just means "You're not playing my game my way and you weren't elected to the Buller and you're an oik".

I wonder what sort of fees David Cameron is currently charging on the Lecture Circuit.

19 April 2018

Protocol

Reports suggest that PF is to receive Cardinal Marx in Rome (they will discuss one of the latest heterodox dodges of the German Episcopal Conference).

Absolutely right and much to be commended.

It is a long-standing tradition that Cardinals enjoy an automatic right of entree to the Roman Pontiff.

Accountability

Mgr Scicluna is to be complimented on having produced so lengthy a report (on sexual abuse in Chile) in such a comparatively short period of time, and, apparently, with so little secretarial assistance. And after himself needing surgery early in his mission.

In the Anglo-Saxon world of corporate accountability, at least a redacted summary of his Report would be available to the Public. As I write, I am unaware that anything has been made public other than PF's Letter to the Chilean Episcopal Conference. (Unfortunately, the 'story' by chance 'broke' just when our own Media were a trifle preoccupied with the possibility of a World War.)

A 'Survivor' who, until she resigned, was a member of PF's Papal Commission on Abuse, commented:
"Now the focus has to be on the survivors who have been badly hurt by his words; then there has to be accountability."

Regretfully, I have to say that her brutal words express an uncomfortable but simply unavoidable truth. We have not been told what Mgr Scicluna discovered about the transmission of the five-page Letter which one survivor gave to Cardinal O'Malley and which his Eminence is said to have guaranteed that he handed personally to PF. But as the uncorrected public record currently stands, it looks as though PF either never bothered to open and read the Letter; or that he read it and then forgot about its contents so comprehensively that he subsequently lost his temper and started shouting at questioners (he said he required, and had not yet been offered, 'proof'' ... a word subsequently emended to 'evidence').


This is where the demand for accountability becomes irresistible.

We have a Roman Pontiff who has made himself a figure of mockery by his endless logorrhoea. It seems that he is unable to live without constant utterance; utterance which (unlike the words of his intellectually abler predecessors) is commonly riddled with vivid but obscure attacks, apparently often on those fellow-clergy who do not accept his own self-estimation. His 'magisterial' documents substitute inscrutable interminability for clarity. But in some contexts, a more than Trappist taciturnity magically and suddenly takes over from the compulsive loquacity. Cardinals formally offer him dubia or intellectuals send him a Filial Correction; he does not trouble even to acknowledge that he has received their communications. He refuses ... lovely Renaissance Court usage coming up here ... to "grant them an Audience". Abuse survivors transmit to him, via hand of Cardinal, long and detailed accounts of their abuse; the silence is total as they wait ... and wait ... and wait ... and the years pass by, with no comfort for their anguish.

It is an established pattern.

Of course, a Roman Pontiff cannot read everything that anybody presses into his hand. But in previous pontificates, the Pontiff retained a certain formal distance and there were mechanisms, one imagines, by which his correspondence was handled appropriately at appropriate levels. And if there were mistakes, as in any human enterprise there undoubtedly will have been, presumably those responsible were held accountable. But PF seems to have eschewed such workaday mechanisms. He, apparently, prefers above all things to receive plaudits for his faux populism. So, by his own choice, it is he who is accountable for the mistakes. If the buck stops somewhere else, then he should have explained that earlier.

Our Most Holy Redeemer spoke sometimes with an almost Bergoglian frankness (Matthew 23?). But there is not much evidence that He habitually handled critics or questioners by "doing a Bergoglio": i.e. by saying not a syllable to them; turning his back on them; and walking away from them, wordless amid the clamour.

In the Anglo-Saxon corporate world, a CEO who behaved like this would be tactfully removed. Or perhaps just removed without time wasted on tact. A Bergoglio would not survive as head master of an English Public School. You're laughing at me? Think about it.

Indeed. That lady was right. First the focus does have to be upon those who have suffered.

Then, accountability.

Is there nobody left in the Vatican with the nous and the parrhesia  to explain to PF in simple Spanish what, in the real and practical world, accountability means?

Footnote: I commend to you the soon-to-be-published The Dictator Pope by Henry Sire. I find it convincing and compelling. If the facts about this pontificate were more widely known ...

18 April 2018

S Joseph

(1) His Feast on March 19 got under way in the 15th century and gradually spread. It celebrated S Joseph, Spouse of the Theotokos.
(2) Then his Feast as Guardian of the Universal Church was added (universal in the Latin Church from 1847), fixed on the Second Sunday (EF) after Easter (='Third Sunday of Eastertide' in the OF).
(3) Then, when S Pius X liberated Sundays from perpetually occurring Feasts, this feast moved to the subsequent Wednesday. But for some decades clergy were allowed to celebrate External Solemnities of S Joseph on the Sunday, where their people had become attached to the custom.
(4) During the Cold War, Pius XII had the rather clever idea (1955) of making the Workers' Day, May 1, the Feast of S Joseph the Worker.
(5) For a variety of reasons, it never caught on and is now, in the OF, merely an optional memoria. (In the EF it is still in situ)

(6) But S Joseph the Guardian had been abolished in order to make space for this new substantial Josephine celebration within Eastertide. His title of Guardian of the Universal Church had been amalgamated with his March 19 festival.
(7) But the old Mass texts of S Joseph the Guardian survived and survive still as the Votive of S Joseph in the Weekday Votives of the pre-Conciliar Missal.
(8) S Joseph's Guardianship of the Universal Church is a theme just waiting for revival.
(9) Episcopal Conferences have the faculty (in the OF) of moving S Joseph out of Lent.

Make what you will of all that. I will just say that this morning I (legitimately) said that Votive Mass, originally the Mass of S Joseph the Guardian of the Universal Church. I could not, however, see how it could be legitimate to say the Divine Office of the old Feast. A shame, because it is very beautiful and has a lot of suggestive  and relevant typology in it.

I think Ecclesia Dei should relegate S Joseph the Workman to Pro aliquibus locis (or among the Votives) and restore SS Pip and Jim to May 1. And resurrect the Guardianship of S Joseph.

Quite apart from anything else, it would be nice again to see the churches and the Sacred Ministers garbed in deepest red on Mayday.

17 April 2018

SILENCE and NOISE: PF, Sarah, and Screwtape

"It is not healthy to love silence while fleeing interaction with others." (PF, Gaudete et Exsultate, 26.)

The Scholiasts seem to be deeply divided about the interpretation of this. There are those who explain it as a rare piece of self-criticism on the part of PF. They think that, at long last, he is repenting for having vouchsafed the Dubia Cardinals, and the Correcting Filii, not a single word of reply. On the other hand, some scholars take it as a snide and cheap sneer at Cardinal Sarah, who enjoys writing about Silence. Moi, I haven't the faintest idea. One of the greatest strengths of PF is that his writings always leave me totally baffled. The day I try to persuade you that I am a sensitive interpreter of PF's most nuanced subtleties is probably the day you should stop looking at this blog.

I can, however, offer you some light from the Anglican Patrimony. Not quite from the Ordinariate itself, because Benedict XVI carelessly forgot to provide it with a category which would have enabled a certain famous belle-lettriste to seek full membership. I refer, of course, to His Abysmal Sublimity Mr Under Secretary Screwtape.

"Music and silence - how I detest them both! How thankful we should be that ever since our Father entered Hell ... no square inch of infernal time has been surrendered to either of those abominable forces, but all has been occupied by Noise - Noise, the grand dynamism, the audible expression  of all that is exultant, ruthless and virile - Noise which alone defends us from silly qualms, despairing scruples and impossible desires. We will make the whole universe a noise in the end. We have already made great strides in this direction as regards the Earth. The melodies and silences of Heaven will be shouted down in the end. But I admit we are not yet loud enough, or anything like it. Research is in progress ..."


16 April 2018

S Magnus the Martyr and Catholic Ecumenism

Here's a curiosity for the cognoscenti. On the Ordinariate Calendar, today is the feast of S Magnus the Martyr, of Orkney. Is he there
(1) to show that the British Ordinariate includes even the Northern Islands of the Kingdom of Scotland; or
(2) because of the fact that Fr Henry Joy Fynes Clinton, for decades the undisputed leader of the Papalist Party in the Church of England, was Rector of S Magnus the Martyr, London Bridge?

In either case, both the fact and the reason are excellent!

When the Ordinariates were erected, I did think how lovely an ecumenical gesture it would be if the Diocese of London had lent S Magnus's to us. But the C of E is not really ecumenical except in the formal sense of asserting that it is; and playing the daft games epitomised by the expensive white elephant called ARCIC. It is rumoured that one official in that diocese said that he would rather see a Church bulldozed than getting into the hands of the Ordinariate! Nice lot! Happily, in an act of real generosity and genuine Catholic Ecumenism, the Diocese of Westminster assigned us the wonderful historic Church of the Assumption and S Gregory in central London, which, among its battle honours, proudly claims to have been sacked during the Gordon Riots. I have no difficulty discerning there the approving spirit of that superbly combative old ecumenist, Fr FC. Additionally, as all sound chaps and chappesses know, it was once the Bavarian Embassy Chapel and contains the beautiful Flag of the House of Wittelsbach. Vivat Rex!

BUT ... for me, if I may become personal, the Feast of S Magnus sings most joyously in my heart because of my memory of an amazing visit to my dear friends, the Redemptorists of Papa Stronsay. They showed me round the Cathedral of S Magnus in Kirkwall, exquisite Romanesque in beautiful pink stone, and still housing the relics of S Magnus. And this enables me to complete the circle by returning to Pope Benedict XVI, in whose happy pontificate, of course, the Redemptorists of Papa Stronsay were able to regularise their canonical relationship with the Holy See. Another splendid act of true, Catholic, Ecumenism!! May they continue to flourish and to give such a wonderful witness of prayer, work, and common life to the Catholic World!

As for Benedict XVI, the Pope of Ecumenism ... Eis polla ete, Despota!

I think this Post exceeds my usual daily allowance of sincere hyperbole ...  Megamarvellous!!

Ad multos annos plurimosque annos ...

Today is the birthday of Joseph Ratzinger, sometime Bishop of Rome, and the anniversary of his rebirth in Baptism on the day when the Church was celebrating her Passover.

His pontificate was short, but what enrichment it brought us. The vetusta Novitas of the Bible, the Fathers, and the Liturgy; Summorum Pontificum and Anglicanorum coetibus; the beatification of Newman; how much grace we received in those years through his gentle and generous hands. It turned out to be a necessary stocking-up of the larder with good and nourishing food; food destined  to be our rations during the winter and the ice and the time of tears and cruelty. As we warm ourselves at our hearths today, and hear the wolves still howling outside as they run licensed and unconfined, hungry and increasingly desperate, memories of the good times reassure us that, in the power of the Spirit, and if we keep faith, good times can return. Veni Sancte Spiritus ... flecte quod est rigidum, fove quod est frigidum, rege quod est devium. And there are at last sounds of the glaciers cracking, and of the trickle of tiny streams running out from beneath the compacted ice ... and the sight of little buds beginning to open beside the streams.

In a manner of speaking, we might say that Pope Benedict's glorious pontificate is still alive among us, since it is to the sinewy strength of his biblical and patristic teaching, and to the structures he left in place, that we continue to turn as we look to the return of the Maytime, when "The happy birds Te Deum sing, 'tis Mary's month of May."

In a justly famous sermon, Blessed John Henry Newman addressed to our Lady some words derived from the Song of Solomon:

"Arise, make haste, my love, my dove, my beautiful one, and come. For the winter is now past, the rain is over and gone. The flowers have appeared in our land. ... The fig tree hath put forth her green figs; the vines in flower yield their sweet smell. Arise, my love, my beautiful one, and come. It is time for thy Visitation. Arise, Mary, and go forth in thy strength ..."

May the prayers of our Mother gain for us the grace of perseverance in this last dark hour of the apostasy. Was there ever a tyranny which lasted for ever, or an eternal winter?  

She will go forth in her strength.

Her Immaculate Heart will prevail.

15 April 2018

...audemus dicere PATER NOSTER ...

The words introducing the Lord's prayer were translated by Cranmer, felicitously, as ' ...we are bold to say'. New ICEL with equal accuracy renders '...we dare to say'. But surely we should be 'happy' to say or 'cosy' to say or at least 'confident' to say? Old ICEL, indeed, prayed 'with confidence', and the equally corrupt Common Worship translation totally skives the question of how to render 'audemus'. Yet there is quite an ecumenical convergence here (if one ignore the Modernists and considers just the healthy consensus of the classical Roman and Byzantine Rites): the Byzantines ask God to make us worthy, with parrhesia and without condemnation, to dare (tolmain) to call upon the God of Heaven as Father.

Lying behind the modern squeamishness is a feeling that Christianity should be a religion of intimate warmth. Indeed, there is in the world at large a belief that all men are brothers and that accordingly God, if there is a God, is the indulgent unjudgmental Father of all men. So why should there be anything bold or daring about calling him Father? Rather than being dangerous, it should be next door to a platitude.

But this is not the religion of the New Testament. The Lord's habit of regarding God as his father, Abba, seems to have been distinctive and unusual. The fact that the word is Aramaic suggests that it goes back to the Incarnate Lord's infant linguistic habits. And permission is given to humankind to share this habit in as far and only as far as humans are incorporated into Christ by Baptism and thus en Christo, members of his Body, Sons only in the sense that they are in the One Son. Wayne Meekes (The First Urban Christians) attractively suggested that the Pauline converts actually cried Abba (Gal 4:6) as they emerged dripping from the regenerating, resurrecting, waters of baptism.

Only because we thus share by the theosis of filiation in Christ's Divine Sonship dare we, as the Byzantines happily put it, with parrhesia (standing on our two feet and looking him in the eye) call God Pater.

14 April 2018

Episcopal CVs

I just browsed through the CV of the new Bishop of Lancaster.

I don't know anything at all about him, or his views on "the issues of the day". (By the way: I sha'n't enable comments which criticise him.) But ...

He grew up in that diocese, as his father had; he went to Lancaster Royal Grammar School, a medieval foundation; then to the Provincial Seminary at Ushaw (R.I.P.); spent his lifetime in the diocesan priesthood (except for a spell "in the Missions"); is a Canon of the Cathedral rather than "Monsignor".

I find it quite simply and unambiguously lovely that a diocesan bishop should be a real Man of his Diocese, a son of the place and of people whom he serves, rather than being what the Irish would call a 'Blow In' from some fancy Roman University or an auxiliary Metropolitan bishopric. He is rooted in the soil! In premodern days, both clergy and laity had a much deeper sense than I think most moderns do, of where they came from, who they were. And they took pride in it. (I would not want to be anything other than an Essex Man, a Colchester Boy! All the Essex Man jokes find their Incarnation in me!)

Autochthony must be a good start for his Lordship! God bless him, and the priests, deacons, and laics of his great diocese!!

13 April 2018

To muddy the Waters ... or to uphold the Anglican Patrimony?

                                DODGY DOCTRINE, versus ...

 Monday's great and glorious feast of the Annunciation ... when, as our exquisite Anglican Patrimony puts it, Immensity was cloistered in Mary's dear womb ... had its lustre marred for me some fivish years ago, when we were being cleansed from our supposed Anglican errors by a series of lectures at Allen Hall (a bit like, I suppose, the Denazification processes in Germany after 1945 or the Cultural Revolution under Mao tse Tung.). One of the speakers informed us that we should tear up all the sermons we had ever written and delivered as Anglicans about how the entire Divine work of Incarnation and Atonement had, at one moment in History, hung upon a Jewish Girl giving her free assent to the call of the Angel.

Mary, he carefully explained to us, was not Free.

I think he was the same gentleman whom I have several times mentioned to you before, who told us that the teaching of the Latin Fathers, the Tridentine Breviary, and the Anglican Patrimony that the Lord is equal to the Father as touching his Godhead and less than the Father as touching his manhood, was a heresy, and that we should write to (the now late) Mother Angelica, whose website, so he told us, promoted this heresy, and explain to her that she was a heretic. (I'm pretty sure none of us did that, thank God.)

This sort of nastiness can be difficult to clear out of one's mind. I felt it again as the (English) text of PF's latest 'Exhortation' flickered down (up?) my computer screen. Is it easy to take seriously the teaching of someone who has in a brief pontificate given so much irrefragable evidence of his unreliability? I am pretty sure that a lot of what he has just published about Sanctity was perfectly splendid and would have been for my own much-needed edification. But it is so uncomfortable to read when one feels that one is obliged to check each statement carefully to be sure that there is not some error wrapped up or implied in what one is reading. And indeed, the preoccupations of this pontificate, encapsulated in such characteristic abuse as the Rigidity stuff, do duly make their appearances. No, I shall not print it off and take it with me on retreat. I suggest that you, too, might have better things to spend your time reading ...

                             ... AUTHENTIC DOCTRINE

 ... such as a limpid lecture delivered last Saturday in Rome by Cardinal Brandmueller. Although his Eminence is not, I think, a member of the Ordinariate (indeed, the poor chap may not even have had any 'Anglican Previous' at all, so he would not qualify for admission), he gave a fine exposition of the teaching of Mr Patrimony Himself, aka Blessed John Henry Newman, about 'consulting the Faithful in matters of doctrine'. Newman is, indeed, the antidote to most of the ills of this pontificate.

You can find Brandmueller's paper, in an elegant translation by Diane Montagna, at Lifesitenews.

                                  NEWMAN AND OUR TIMES?

And, while I am talking about Newman and still reeling from the idea floated by the Graf von Schoenborn, about the need, in his view, for an Ecumenical Council to agree the Ordination of Women, I commend to you Dr Ker's fine biography of Newman (I have before me the 1990 paperback reprint), especially the Chapter on Papal Infallibility; and, if your time is terribly short, at least pages 653-659. It contains phrases which any wild firebrands there may be among my readers might deem uncannily up-to-the-moment: the ultrahyperpapalists are "an aggressive insolent faction" ... " the present Pope cannot live long - he has lived too long [Pio Nono was then 78]" ... "we have come to a climax of tyranny ...". He deplores the fact that the Archbishop of Westminster, aka Mr Archdeacon emeritus Manning, has made statements vastly and improperly exaggerating papal authority. At a time when converts were reverting to the Church of England and foreign intellectuals were toying with the "Old Catholic" option, he explains carefully and most lucidly why Catholics should on no account allow themselves to be driven out of the Church. At a time when many bishops were afraid to get their heads above the parapet, he assures his close friend and ally, Bishop David Moriarty of Kerry, that he is one of a "special band of confessors". (Moriarty was one of the Four Bishops who put a stop to hyperultrapapalist excesses by threatening to walk out of the Council and blow the gaffe on the intimidation being perpetrated.)

                                 SCHISM?

But most importantly and most gravely, Newman discusses (page 655 in Ker) how one should discern whether a particular Conciliar Decree is in fact valid ... ... ... ... ... or alternatively (yes, you've guessed) not valid. Quantus et qualis Doctor; quam huic nostro tempori aptus! Intercede Beate pro nobis.

Let us pray we never come to having to make such judgements, with all that this could mean for the Unity of the Church Militant. 'Avignon' is already one Great Western Schism too many. And that did not even have a doctrinal basis.

12 April 2018

Ephphatha! Engiken ho Kairos!

Oh dear! Some of you must be getting tired of this; irritated that you're no longer getting your moneysworth from the blog in terms of perpetually fresh stuff. But here, again, is a piece from a couple of months ago. I just happen to feel that The Time Is At Hand.

Soon after Amoris laetitia, Cardinal Farrell hinted heavily that Episcopal Conferences should consider that document and ... even more heavily and helpfully ... hinted exactly what the Holy Spirit (needless to say) required them to come up with. But quite a number of Conferences have still not broken the bonds of taciturnity. The Cardinal's aperient spittle and his potent ephphatha  have not yet been effective. There are now signs that pressures ... if I may mix my metaphors ... are afoot. Has the Secretariate of State been dropping hints?

It is no secret that the English and Welsh bishops have not been able to come to a common mind and, on present showing, appear unlikely to do so. I believe Cardinal Nichols' phrase was "We're not there yet". One of the Diocesans, clearly having in mind the teaching of Benedict XVI about the magisterium of diocesan bishops, had the proactive good sense to issue his own ambiguity-free diocesan guidelines very soon after the emergence of AL. Strangely, he has been given very little credit for being so quick off the mark in responding to a Bergoglian initiative.

It is my personal and completely unevidenced hypothesis that his Eminence's rather flowery letter to PF last year, informing the latter that his election was the work of the Spirit and that the Spirit guides him daily (very Cupichiste!), was an attempt to buy time and to assure PF that, despite the apparent delays of the English bishops, they are all to a man enthusiastic and hyperpapalist supporters of this pontificate.

What next?

What is new is the (albeit risible) suggestion of Cardinal Cupich and others that the dubia which abound in this area have now been all authoritatively resolved by a rather strange and far from clear paragraph or two in Acta Apostolicae Sedis. Punto, or whatever it is that Italians say.

What would you do if you suddenly found yourself the Chairman of your Episcopal Conference in these circumstances?

Pushy as ever, I will reveal to you what I, as a strong Bergoglian, would do in order to breath new wind into the faltering sails of Amoris laetitia.

I would circulate my Venerable Brethren in my Conference with documents, to be discussed at the Eastertide Meeting of the Conference, explaining what in my view the current situation demands of them. Or I would agree with another like-minded and 'senior' member of the Conference for him to do it instead, so that it didn't seem that everything was my doing.

[A chance lecture by a visiting Bergoglian Cardinal to one of my country's newer universities would be a bonus, a real godsend!!!]

At the meeting, if one or two bishops still remained recalcitrant, I would express my regret that my colleagues had not been able to come together around a formula which could secure the unanimous majority encouraged by Apostolos suos. I would then remind them that a document with a non-unanimous but large majority could still be sent to Rome and, if approved there, would have thus acquired full authority. To help them negotiate the hoop, I would introduce a minute suggestion of a hint of an ambiguity into one sentence in the draft (or get one of my friends to propose it), like throwing a bone to a dog, so that they could use that to salve their consciences and save their faces.

If this still failed to inspire the troublesome minority to see sense, I would go for the nuclear option of sending such a resolution to Rome, at the same time making clear to 'Rome' which of my brethren constituted the non-juring minority. Possibly I might also drop some quiet words into the Nuncio's ear about "how difficult it is to work with" X, Y, and/or Z.


But ... dreadful thought ... suppose there were to be a change of pontificate right in the middle of all this pro-Amoris activity ... After all, to adapt a witticism of Dom Gregory Dix, even the most single-minded pontiff eventually has rest from his labours, and it is surprising how often the lance of his successor delivers the Church from the dangers posed by some quite different windmill.

What's that phrase about creeks and paddles ...