When I get letters like this…

…I am always reminded of this passage from the gospels:

Then the Pharisees went and took counsel how to entangle him in his talk. And they sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodi-ans, saying, “Teacher, we know that you are true, and teach the way of God truthfully, and care for no man; for you do not regard the position of men. (Mt 22:15–17).

Anyway, a reader whose email handle is “syllabus.errorum” writes coyly in that “just wondering” way:

Mr Shea, Recently Pope Francis bowed and received a blessing from The Archbishop of Canterbury and Cardinal O’Malley received a blessing from a Female minister at a Methodist Temple. What’s going on? Thanks!

Don’t know anything about either story, but Jesus had his feet washed by a prostitute–and she wasn’t ordained at all. Bottom line: They are humble men. That’s the problem?

I’d love to believe that was a sincere question, but experience tells me that my answer has been recorded in the Bill of Indictment Against Neo-Catholic Novus Ordo Scum that is being drawn up against all those guilty of failure to panic about this pope somewhere in the Star Chamber of the Greatest Catholics of All Time. Come the Revolution, people like me will be the first up against the wall in the Great Cleansing Fire.

Oh! And look! Sure enough, the “questioner” then writes back:

“We must remember that if all the manifestly good men were on one side and all the manifestly bad men on the other, there would be no danger of anyone, least of all the elect, being deceived by lying wonders. It is the good men, good once, we must hope good still, who are to do the work of Anti-Christ and so sadly to crucify the Lord afresh…. Bear in mind this feature of the last days, that this deceitfulness arises from good men being on the wrong side.”

Fr. Frederick Faber, Sermon for Pentecost Sunday, 1861

Golly.  What a surprise.  Another one  of the Greatest Catholics of All Time, anointed by God to defend the Church from the pope, wasn’t really asking a question at all.  Just looking for a chance to act as Accuser of the Brethren.  The job is already taken, pal.  You should consider finding something else to do with your time.


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