Did Mahony Crib a Joseph Notion from a Patheos Blogger?

Perhaps not. But I can’t help wondering about it.

On February 27, Joanne McPortland of Egregious Twaddle wondered whether a Pope Joseph I, inaugurated on the Feast Day of the Patron of the Universal Church might not be a wonderful thing for the church:

. . .if I were to whisper my wish, which is all any of us could do, I would hope the Spirit and the College of Cardinals would be leaning toward someone who combines the best of my two favorite popes:

—a man with the openness to the world’s hunger for Christ of a John XXIII, and a commitment to Christ’s Church as unshakable as that of Benedict XVI;
—a man with John XIII’s pastoral genius and air of being “one of us,” along with Benedict XVI’s steel in the face of the Enemy;
—a man who is capable of causing people to fall in love with the Church—as well as being open to drawing the lost ones home.

In other words, we need an average Joe, with a twist. And I mean that literally. May the Holy Spirit give us a new St Joseph, guardian of the Church as he was of Mary and her Child—a father, a protector, a craftsman, a man in the world but not of it. It strikes me that the feast of St Joseph the Worker, March 19, may fall within the Conclave. What better time for the Holy Spirit to give us a pope with the gifts of those two Josephs—Roncalli and Ratzinger? And what better name might the new pope choose than Joseph?

I heard someone joke recently that the next pope should be John Paul Benedict I, a name encompassing the energy of every papacy since Good Pope John’s. It’s a silly idea, of course, and Joanne’s post was just an idea — a speculation of what a blessing for the church might look like — but, as with that joke, it is a speculation being made in hopes for the good of the church.

And here is Mahony, on March 3:

Since I was a seminarian, I have had a very personal devotion to St. Joseph. In God’s providence I was ordained a priest on May 1, 1962 the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker. Then, on March 19, 1975, the Feast of St. Joseph I was ordained a Bishop. Although all of this is just imaginary, it would be wonderful to celebrate the 38th anniversary of my episcopal ordination during the Inaugural Mass for our new Pope!

Okay, I don’t want to be too rough on Mahony — he has as much right, I guess, to indulge in whimsy as anyone else, and Lord knows, I do myself, sometimes — but as a Cardinal heading into conclave one would expect his thoughts and prayers to be primarly about what is best for the people of God and the Bride of Christ, and yet his whole idea of St. Joseph is how the great saint relates to him and his life. Then again, Mahony’s blog has lately been very me-centric — painfully so.

Recently I had three emails in a row asking me why I wasn’t spitting nails at Mahony’s participation in the conclave. I seem to spit fewer nails these days, in general (and I credit the Liturgy of the Hours for that, or maybe I’m just getting old…) but I’ve also more or less spelled out my thoughts about it here and elsewhere. How do I make sense of it? In the life of faith things don’t always make sense but today I keep reminding myself that the profane and the sacred have always stood right beside each other, just as Jesus hung between two sinners.

And, too, there is a part of me that looks at Mahony and thinks, “well, maybe we need him there, to keep ourselves rightly disgusted by all that has happened, and so as not to think we are anywhere near done with our penance. This is how I kept perspective regarding Cardinal Law, too, so I don’t see this as a left/right thing.

Mahony, if nothing else, is a reminder to us that the church is an institution that survives by the grace of the Holy Spirit, because if we were left to mere mere, it would have ceased to be, many centuries ago.

In other news, do you remember when I suggested that
, in resigning, Benedict was doing something heroic, and meant to save the church? This piece out of England suggests that his resignation is a kind of martyrdom.

I take this all with a grain of salt, especially because the author, John Cromwell, says something everyone knows is false, not 50 words into the piece: “He had longed to be Pope. He has loved being Pope. He expected to die as Pope.”

Well, no. It is well-known that Joseph Ratzinger had bought a little house for himself in Bavaria and had every intention of retiring after guiding the 2005 conclave to its conclusion, and as for “expecting to die a pope,” to the contrary, Benedict had either hinted at or openly discussed the question of retirement several times during his papacy.

So, keep that caution in mind as you read this:

“. . .[Benedict] has voluntarily delivered himself up as a sacrificial lamb to purge the Church of what he calls ‘The Filth’. And it must have taken courage.

Here is the remarkable thing you are seldom told about a papal death or resignation: every one of the senior office-holders in the Vatican – those at the highest level of its internal bureaucracy, called the Curia – loses his job.

A report Benedict himself commissioned into the state of the Curia landed on his desk in January. It revealed that ‘The Filth’ – or more specifically, the paedophile priest scandal – had entered the bureaucracy.[...] Benedict was not prepared to wait for his own death to sweep out the gang who run the place. In one extraordinary gesture, by resigning, he gets rid of the lot of them. But what then?
The Curia are usually quickly reappointed. This time it may be different. It involves scores of departments, like the civil service of a middling-sized country.

It’s an interesting idea. I posited an idea that Benedict, having been (thanks to Twitter) given a birds-eye view of the world-hate directed at the church, in large part because of its sins. This article says it’s because of the scandals.

Sexual (and other) corruption or world-condemnation because of sexual (and other) corruption, they’re both part-and-parcel of the same thing. You don’t have to tell me twice that Benedict did something brave and heroic in resigning; I was already convinced.

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • Victor

    (((You don’t have to tell me twice that Benedict did something brave and heroic in resigning; I was already convinced.)))

    Anchoress! Today, a lot of my past life seem to rush before my spiritual brain cell eyes but “I” didn’t see anything in reality except for what my brain cells were thinking and they were so clear that “I” was literally moved to write them down but there was no way of doing so cause there was WAY too much and long story short, a lot of things seem to become very clear to me in “Faith” which I never understood before.

    As for what you said above about His Holiness retiring, that’s been so easy for me to understand before “I” officially heard about “IT” and also before “I” even read “The Filth” that was said about this good man which I could not read all because yes something within me was very angry. “I” now understand with no anger in my heart whatsoever at all and longer story short, I truly must thank every “ONE” for the good blessing thoughts that were sent my way.
    Thoughts that not even my so called spiritual “end her me’s” seem to quietly say Go Victor go but “I” know that “ME”, “ME” end “ME” must stop right NOW? Longer story short, I believe that “I’M” simply being set UP if only because “I’M” starting to be too full of myself NOW and that’s not GOD’s WAY especially during LENT! Right NOW?


    Hey Anchoress! HOW’s the weather in your area?


    I hear YA! Have you been drinking too much while taking your meds NOW Victor? :(

    I don’t think so!?

    Go Figure! :)


  • http://attheturnofthetide.blogspot.com Caspar

    His name is “Cornwell,” not Cromwell–he’s almost certainly the author of Hitler’s Pope, that hit job on Pius XII.

  • Vicky Hernandez

    Not that he has to, it is after all his blog. But, Cdl. Mahony has no com box on his blog. That says more about the man than his Tweets and his shameless musings.

    It takes more than “3×5 cards” to repair the damage he has done.

  • Gil Gilliam

    From the byline for the article:

    “John Cornwell is the author of Hitler’s Pope and Newman’s Unquiet Grave: The Reluctant Saint”

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  • http://littleportionhermitage.blogspot.com/ The Hermit

    I would like to be Pope, if anyone who can vote for same is reading this combox. I plan to call myself Hipster I. I will exchange the red papal slippers for a pair of red Chuck Taylor high tops. I will continue to lead the Church into the era of Evangelical Catholicism toward which the New Evangelization tends.

    Oh…one more thing, Ms. Joanne McPortland over at Egregious Twaddle will be my directress of social media. :-)

  • http://www.savkobabe.blogspot.com Gayle Miller

    I lived in L.A. for nearly 20 years and I can say first hand, Cardinal Mahoney was a lousy administrator, a distant and unresponsive spiritual leader and an all around failure. To put it bluntly, he’s no Dolan! But then hardly anyone is.

    As far as him participating in the Conclave, anyone who is interdicted from fulfilling his duties in L.A. should be similarly interdicted in Rome – just my opinion!

  • Steve

    To attribute Ratzinger’s throwing in the towel to some speculative act of curial housecleaning is ridiculous. The Pope has the canonical authority to clean house already – just as he had the power to stack the deck with ultra-conservative Cardinals – a power he exercised with great ardor – and remove them from active ministry for playing “hide the pea”with sex abuser – a power which he failed repeatedly to exercise. Ratzinger’s “martydom” is nothing more than a timely admission that he wasn’t papal material in the first place – he was no more than a triumphalistic theologizer of canons, with no vision of the Holy Spirit at work in exposing the fruits of the heretical clericalism that has held Roman catholocism hostage for centuries – and Ratzingers own role in perpetuating it. for the past three decades.

  • Yae

    As far as Mahoney goes, I will do my best to pray for him and for the rest of us as we fall, blunder and hope and repent on our road of Calvary. Anyway, he is all about himself as he demonstrates so clearly by his tweets and blogs and whatevers. I think we can just dismiss him since I read this:
    Sandro Magister, an old friend, today published an interesting analysis of this situation in L’Espresso, on newsstands here as of March 1.
    “Sandro notes that three cardinals who were “on the crest of the wave” in 2005, and who all voted for the late Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini of Milan (at one point, the leading alternative in that Conclave to the final choice, Ratzinger), are either now out of the Conclave, or diminished in moral authority: Cardinal Keith Michael Patrick O’Brien of Scotland, who has announced that he will not go to Rome for the election of the new pontiff; the former archbishop of Los Angeles, Roger Mahony, censured by his own successor, José Horacio Gómez; and the former archbishop of Brussels, Cardinal Godfried Danneels.
    Sandro writes: “For all three, the matters of accusation concern that ‘filth’ against which Pope Ratzinger fought his strenuous battle. Mahony and Danneels have so far resisted expulsion, but within the college of cardinals their authoritativeness is already practically nil.”

    The last sentence says it all and that’s all well and good for me. May God have mercy on him and the rest of us.

  • Roz Smith

    After Hitler’s Pope I take everything Cornwell writes with a huge grain of salt . Authors with agendas would do well not to narrate their own audio books. I listened to the unabridged version of Hitler’s Pope when it came out. He narrated his appalling misrepresentations about the actions of Pius XII concerning Nazi Germany dispassionately, but he could not mask the scorn in his voice over Pius’s canonization of Maria Goretti.