Dreher’s Take on the Cardinals’ Powow. Most depressing line: Cardinal Egan, channelling the spirit of William Jefferson Clinton: “I have said what I thought I needed to say to the people, and I hope it worked.”

I hope it worked? I hope it worked? I hope it freakin’ worked??? Sorry if the cries of victims have intruded on the machine-like working of your day, Cardinal. As a dumb sheep, I will now consider myself placated by Happy Words and will not be checking back to see if the clerical guild actually implements what they say. Your words “worked”. Bahhhhh. Bahhhhhh. Is that the sign of “renewal” you are looking for?

It’s moments like this that I understand why “Honor your father” is a commandment. Commandments are given precisely to shore us up when our every natural impulse tells us to do something else. I don’t have to be commanded to obey gravity. I’ll do it, no matter what. But right now I–we–have to remind ourselves that these men are worthy of honor, not because they are necessarily good shepherds (most are, some are emphatically not), but because they stand in the place of the Father and are due honor simply as fathers. Honor, however, does not mean, dumb acquiescence to irresponsibility nor refusal to speak the truth should the American bishops weasel out of cleaning up the problem as they did in 1981.


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