Mail bag

A reader notes that of all the archived shows by Mother A, the only one EWTN does not post is the one where she said that Cdl. Mahony should receive “zero obedience”. That’s a good enough retraction for me. Way to go, Mother.

Sean Gallagher takes issue with my dressing down of Cdl. “I’m waaaaay better than Law. I am the Voice of True Reform” Mahony. Understood. I can be somewhat vociferous. But my point was to emphasize that I can certainly see why somebody like Mother A would find Mahony to be an odious man. I do too. But his personal odiousness has nothing to do with his office, which remains intact since it was instituted by Christ, not by Cdl. Mahony. As father, I honor him. As a man, I recognize him as a fellow sinner and rebuke the sins. And I hope he will be able to renounce his odious acts and acquit himself like a priest and not like Lt. Keefer in the Caine Mutiny henceforth.

Somebody else asks me to “Remind you readers that the conference coverage the last few years has been funded by the Knights of Columbus. So the coverage is a matter of financial resources as much as will. So if the folks writing will include financial support along with words of encouragement, perhaps you will get the TV coverage you want.” Done.

Another reader weighs in on the Sungenis Geocentrism Thang and says:

The theory of relativity has nothing to do with the argument about whether the earth moves. (Well, not nothing, but it takes a long time to get there.). Even in a straight Newtonian context, you can work the equations with any fixed point of reference you want.

The problem with geocentrism is just that, while you _can_ work the equations that way, there’s no good reason you should. Jupiter’s

moons revolve around Jupiter, which revolves around the Sun. In each case, it’s a lot easier to work the equations as if the body of

negligible (comparatively) mass rotates around the body with great mass. So why work the Earth/Sun equations differently? Why should the Earth have a privileged position in the calculations?

Still worse, the geocentricists are doing their best to die in a ditch that doesn’t even have anything behind it. Galileo was not tried for

saying that the Earth moves–he was tried in the first instance for saying he had proved it when in fact he had not; and in the second

instance for disobeying an order not to publish. So the Church never stated flatly that geocentrism was de fide.

The Catholic Encyclopedia’s article on Galileo is pretty good. Even better, and from a non-Catholic perspective, is the chapter on

in _6 Modern Myths_, by Philip Sampson (IVP).

Another reader asks:

Can you recommend a Web site, or even an iterative column somewhere online, that specializes in spirituality from a Catholic perspective, meaning feeling God in our lives, things to think about while praying and/or meditating, faith-reaffirming contemplation, et al.? You know, something to turn to for necessary breaths of uplifting air during breaks from work on these rainy days.

Best thing I know is Magnificat. It’s not a website but a terrific little devotion. Even I like it, and I don’t like devotionals much.

An apodictic reader sez:

(1) There is a very complicated technical legal term for organized gunmen occupying a church during an armed conflict. It’s called, ahem: a “war crime”. The Hamas (or whatever) gunmen are _war criminals_.


(2) The correct spelling is “pooh-pooh“, and no other.

I sit chastened and humiliated under the punishing blows of the OED.

A reader sends a promising link to something called Second Spring.

Finally, my priest friend whom I spoke with the other day tells me I pretty much captured his thought but that he wanted a) a clarification and b) one last thing pointed out.

Clarification: all the language describing bishops as “bumbling” etc come from Mark, paraphrasing in his own words, not from my priest friend. This is true. My friend is, as I say, the closest I will ever get to Aquinas and does not indulge himself in these flights of purple that are my habit. If you read something in our conversation that sounds rather florid, rest assured it’s me paraphrasing, not him speaking. I haven’t Boswell’s gifts for recording conversations in much more than the basic idea. Verbatim transcription is beyond me.

Second: the final and crucial point that my priest friend wanted to make is that the gravest sin involved in this blasphemy of Holy Orders is not abuse of children, horrible as that is. It is that such sin denies people access to Christ and grotesquely deforms our ability to see him or blinds us to him altogether. Again, I can’t argue with this. The failure here is a failure to understand and live the office of priest. If we don’t understand that, we will not understand JPII’s approach to the problem. I think my priest friend is right.