Writer Max Lindenman, who usually adds a dose of cleverness to the food for thought offered in his column, “An Israelite Without Guile,” today gives us a spoonful of medicine that goes down pretty easy, if you have a sense of humor. Perusing various Catholic blogs and magazine sites, he has identified Nine types of Catholic Commenters:
For the curious, I’ve prepared a brief field guide to some recognizable types:
1) The Chief Mourner: For this nostalgic soul, spiritual perfection was realized in some Church figure of his/her youth. When that exemplar passed from the earth, the whole Church went to the dogs. To hear the chief mourner tell it, there’s no point in even discussing the Church’s problems, if Archbishop Sheen (Cardinal Bernardin, Dorothy Day, Pope John Paul II, Pope John XXIII) isn’t around to solve them.
2) The Closet Sedevacantist: This master of reductive reasoning finds one explanation and one explanation only for every woe that plagues the Church. He blames the Second Vatican Council for clerical sex abuse, declining vocations, and even the designated hitter rule. (Pius XII would have fought to preserve the purity of our national pastime.) Since he prides himself on his docility to the Magisterium, he will, occasionally, observe a distinction between the conciliar decrees themselves and their subsequent application; but this is tokenism. In truth, he can’t shut his ears to the idea that Good Pope John had been inspired by the Freemasons, the Devil, or both.
3) Casper the Friendly Ghost: The closet sedevacantist’s natural counterpart and constant incubus, this person pines aloud for the Spirit of Vatican II. This Spirit, as he defines it, represented a boundless openness to change—aggiornamento without borders. In his gloomier moods, he writes of the spirit as though it were Sade’s Justine—abused, betrayed, and violated at very turn. In his more buoyant moments, he writes as though it were out of commission but only temporarily, like Tinkerbell. If we all clap our hands and believe, Vatican III could be just around the corner.
Sadly, I have found myself somewhere in there, and not just once. I am not telling you where. This being Lent — the season of self-examination and a resolve to do better — take a look and see where you land on the list!
*James Tissot’s painting Mary Magdalene’s Box of Very Precious Ointment seemed apt to me; everybody’s got an opinion!