…so, of course, the more tabloidesque press runs with it and a number of Catholics write me in panic about it this weekend, particularly since one of those tabloids was a Conservative Catholic Folk Hero. I was, however, off swimming with my adorable grandddaughter Lucy the Cuteness, who astonished us all by donning an approved flotation device and putting out into the deep like a duck to… what’s the word I’m looking for?
All in all, it’s been absolutely beautiful here. The light on the leaves makes them somehow golden more than green, reminding me that this is, after all, Tolkien’s Middle Earth, just a little later in its history. Beauty, courage, valor, honor, humility, faithfulness, still grow in our world as they do in Aragorn’s and the green grass that grow in my yard is still the mighty stuff of legend.
Oh! Right. So the latest hysteria from Rome. It turns out that my plan of “Ignore the hysteria and enjoy the weekend” seems to have worked extremely well. If there was something to it, I figured, we’d know more by Monday. If not, we’d know that too. As it happens, there’s not so much as you might think, to judge from Jimmy Akin’s typically cool-headed analysis and from John Allen’s actual real reportage as distinct from that of rumor mongers with a camera and a twirling pencil.
Of course, that doesn’t do much to slow down the hysterics in Jimmy’s comboxes, many of whom are examples of that curious new phenomenon, the *conservative* Church despiser who deeply *want* there to be a scandal so that a) their beloved Folk Hero(s), both bald and mop-topped, will be vindicated; b) their enemies, real and imagined, will be punished; and c) their own reflexive assumptions about their virtue and darkest suspicions about their enemies will be vindicated. It goes without saying, of course, that poor Jimmy and the roughly 50% of readers in his comboxes who share his cool head are fools and stooges for sticking with what we in fact know and for failing to leap beyond the evidence to the conclusion “EVIL CABAL!!!” being asserted by Folk Heroes and their fanboys.
Could it be that the Evil Cabal these people so profoundly hope for really exists? Hey! Anything is possible. It could be that a defrocked pathological liar and pervert with a vendetta, and Italian scandal sheets with all the reliability of the National Enquirer, and a guy with a twirling pencil are really on to something. But at present we don’t have any evidence for that, nor do Italian prosecutors (you know, the people who jailed the pathological liar for being a pervert in 1999). All we have is, well, a guy with a pencil who appears to have jumped the gun on a story because it fit his pattern of demagoguery against the bishops, coupled with the extremely weird alliance of anti-Catholic scandal sheets and their strange bedfellows, Ultra-Super Pure Catholics, who want, more than anything, for it to be so. If it turns out that the Evil Cabal is there and the defrocked pathological liar with the vendetta is telling the truth, then let the guilty be jailed. But first, let’s try praying it’s not there, not hoping with burning malice that it is, just so a Beloved Catholic Folk Hero won’t look dumb and his fanboys’ lust for the Great Cleansing Fire won’t look half-cocked.
One humorous note: I love belonging to a Church with a heirarchy so out of touch with media-speak that its representative, called upon to address rumors of rent boys and black masses, replies, “This sort of coverage violates the most elementary norms of journalistic deontology.”
De. Ont… Just a minute…
Ethical theory concerned with duties and rights.
[Greek deon, deont-, obligation, necessity (from neuter present participle of dein, to need, lack; see deu-1 in Indo-European roots) + -logy.]
Okay, your Eminence, so what you’re saying is, this is unethical journalism, right?
Anyway, it appears that, so far, there is no actual evidence beyond the word of a defrocked pathological liar and pervert with a vendetta to support this story. If something turns up, I’m sure we’ll hear about it, particularly since some Conservative Catholic Folk Hero fanboys are now desperately hoping the story is true. It will be interesting to see if any sort of retraction is issued if it turns out not to be true. But then, I’m still waiting for a retraction of the insinuation that Bp. Mulvey was part of a gay cabal that schemed to destroy the Black Sheep Dog and an honest acknowledgement that he was a bishop who actually did his job and disciplined a sexually immoral priest–much as the Folk Hero’s fanboys are demanding be done here. Only the priest was real. And so was the bishop whose reputation was sullied by the Hero and his fanboys.