“It takes three to make a quarrel.
The full potentialities of human fury cannot be fully realized until a friend tactfully intervenes.” – GK Chesterton
I’m working under a double disadvantage in that I’ve not yet read Rod’s piece (I don’t get WSJ and it’s not online that I know of) and I’m very short for time.
So, some very inadequate observations on the discussion in the comments box below Tom Hoopes’ letter. Don’t hate me for what I don’t touch on. I’m writing in haste.
Some readers took Tom’s opening remark as a call for me to rebut Rod. I didn’t read it that way. I thought Tom was just saying my blog was a logical place for him to publish his post. Since I try to keep the blog open to interesting posts, even when if I disagree with them, I did so.
In any case, I’m in not position to rebut Rod since I haven’t read his piece, nor am I altogether convinced that I would want to. Readers of my blog know it’s no secret that while Rod and I agree on the Big Thing (i.e Never Again!) we (semi-) disagree on the question of what John Paul is or should be doing. Rod is more confident than I am that The Thing to Do is to fire a number of bishops and that JP is being neglectful of his task of governance in failing to do so. On odd numbered days, this looks like a mighty tempting explanation to me too. And if he did axe a number of bishops whose names have appeared on this blog tomorrow I would not weep.
At the same time, an extremely important touchstone for my own thoughts is to try, as best I can, to grasp what it is that informs the Pope’s thinking. One of my earliest convictions in becoming Catholic is that the Faith scandalizes us (different people in different ways) and that the scandal is a judgment on us, not on the Faith. It’s the lesson of John 6. It’s the lesson I think everybody who approaches the Church has to cope with sooner or later: something in the Church forces us to the question: “What about you? Are you leaving too?” The most important conversation I’ve had in that department is the one with my priest several months ago who argued very cogently (to my scandalized mind) that John Paul is practicing the very risky medicine of the Cross by forcing these guys to bear the consequences of their actions and face the opprobrium they have done so much to earn. I find this persuasive still, particularly given what I know of JPII’s Carmelite outlook. Do I like this? No. Do I think it is, in fact, what is going on? Yes. Do I think it will succeed? I have only hope to go on. My crystal ball is on the fritz.
Re: Tom’s note. I thought (from a biblical perspective) that the most persuasive part was the appeal to biblical models. A remarkable amount of exhortation from Jesus and the apostles directed at bad churches and their leaders. Not a lot of “heads must roll” action, even in the case of Church leaders who directly defied Sts. Paul (Galatians) and John (3 John). That gave me pause. (I also thought Karl’s point was well taken: it would not be a couple bishops, it would be a huge number, if consistently applied. And this could well engender a lot more problems than it solved.) I did think Tom’s language seemed to veer rather close to the suggestion that people who are offended at the Pope’s apparent inaction are “weak in faith” and was out of line. (So, by the way, was the language of at least one commenter who referred to other readers as “neo-Catholics” for the sin of disagreeing with his position.) I would like to ask both sides to cease and desist such mind reading. I appreciated Fr. Wilson’s solid defense of Rod on that point.
Finally (and you knew I’d do this) I don’t have any final answers myself. But then, what difference would it make if I did? The thing we all have to remember is that this is a blog, not a Ruling Plenipotentiary Body in Control of Papal Actions. Some of my readers tend to forget this and talk as though positions taken by me or one of my readers are going to make one iota of difference in whether our present ecclesiats remain or don’t. Some have even gotten quite angry at me, as though I have it in my power to change things. I am, I assure you, as powerless as you are. So the best use we can make of our time is to decide how *we* should live in faithfullness to the Lord given certain immutable facts.
Finally, a question: My understanding was that Cdl. Law attempted to resign and was refused. Is this true or am I mistaken? If true, I think this would lend powerful weight to my contention that JPII’s policy is deliberate and not merely a sign of inaction.
Sorry, I’m not more thorough, but I gotta run!