Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam

Essential thinking for reading Catholics.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Insert Muzak here

While we wait for the lovely and gracious Karen to tell the world of the St. Ignatius Battery Charger, I wanted to weigh in on Fr. James Martin, SJ and his recent reappraisal* of B16. While Fr. Martin is -- by his own admission -- a liberal Catholic, he often strikes a different chord than do many of his more benighted brethren. Sure, he sometimes says or writes things which make me slam my occipital against the nearest bit of masonry, but in sharp contradistinction to his deluded brethren he more often writes or says things which gladden my heart.

So!

1- Like many things we have seen in the wake of the papal visit, this, I believe is a good first step. Eleven more to go.

2- "One swallow does not a summer make." While B16 has undergone an upward revision in Fr. Martin's eyes, this is not exactly a wholesale and blanket turnabout. In his recent blog entry over at America Magazine, alerting readers to the piece in The New York Times, Fr. Martin considered it either important or wise to qualify that he still had disagreements "from time to time" with the Holy Father. Let us assume these disagreements are in areas beyond rare vs. well-done, drama vs. comedy or paper vs. plastic.

The point is not that someone, in his "faith journey," has disagreements with the Pope. The point is why someone felt compelled to remind people of this.

3- I'm not going to beat up on Father for having those disagreements with Pope Benedict and, by extension, with me. I've had them myself, and I know many people who once had them as well.

I saw a lot of people in the various comboxes jumping down his cyber-throat for this and it's not helping. Sadly, too many people at America Magazine or Commonweal have the deluded notion that those of us who spin along the orthodox-traditional (note the lower-case for both) axis are dour, embittered misanthropes. To berate someone for makingh a good first step instead of going that whole Road-to-Damascus-lightning conversion is doing the Devil's work for him.

So cut it out. Don't make me tell you again.

4- It may well be the case that Fr. Martin may experience -- to quote Wodehouse -- "some slight friction" from his erstwhile friends. The "I may be wrong" mindset is pretty alien to a lot of folks over there and some of the more, uh, robust in their views may consider Father's NYT piece outright sedition.

While I don't wish it upon him, it may prove instructive for Father to get some first hand knowledge of what it's like to be trudging wearily outside the walls of Jericho, instead of looking down its parapets at the motley array of marchers.

5- I believe Father is to be encouraged (and "prayed** up") along this path, but not to confuse his undertaking with his arrival.

Dum spiro, spero.

-J.

*A cynical person would smirk and say "Gee, I thought all the Jesuits loved the Holy Father always and everywhere; they certainly said so at the time of GC35." Not I, but a cynical person.

** That's your cue, Carmelites.