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Five Quick Takes

Five Quick Takes August 11, 2021

I.

Cardinal Burke has apparently been diagnosed with coronavirus. I urge my readers to pray for his well-being. I don’t know anything more about his circumstances, so I’m not going to say any more than that.

II.

An old custom that’s seeing some revival of late is St. Michael’s Lent. I quite like this practice. The period between Assumption (this coming Sunday) and the Feast of St. Michael (September 29th) is a little over forty days, and apparently St. Francis regularly observed this as a third penitential period, alongside Advent and Lent; this period also encompasses another and more standard tradition, that of the autumnal ember week, which falls after Exaltation of the Cross. Falling two to three months after the conclusion of Eastertide, St. Michael’s Lent is well-placed to serve as a period of rededication to prayer, balancing the rhythm of the liturgical year.

III.

Timothy Troutner, whose work I generally enjoy, has written an excellent piece on the imprecatory psalms over at Church Life Journal. This paragraph was especially striking:

Far from trusting that “the truth will set you free,” bishops act as if the Spirit did not sustain the Church, but had abandoned it to clerical managers, who must constantly preserve it from shipwreck by means of soft-pedaled glosses and crafty cover-ups. We cannot afford to abandon ourselves to the astringent powers of the truth or the providence and protection of God, they seem to conclude; he needs us and our vulgar machinations to avoid “scandal” (a concept they grossly misapply). And when our cynical efforts at concealment inevitably fail, we cannot rely on the powerful language of scripture and the liturgy for our response; we need deftly worded sound bites, decked out in the latest of PR best practices. It is often difficult to infer from episcopal pronouncements that these are men who believe in God.

I couldn’t agree more, and I strongly recommend his piece, which explores theological as well as liturgical reasons to restore the imprecatory psalms.

IV.

I was thinking about the expression “mince words,” and somehow, that inspired me to write an apology recipe.

Ingredients:

– 1 face
– shame
– tears (optional)
– words (to taste)

Instructions:

Heat face over shame until red. Mince words and sprinkle onto reddened face; add tears as desired. Serve after an awkward interval.

V.

Something the Troutner piece I mentioned touches on is the Church’s failure to grasp the special gravity of abuse. I’ve been thinking about this for a while, especially in light of the highly polarizing exposé from The Pillar last month. It is—I’m a little surprised I’m saying this—unfair to the hierarchy to blame them alone for this. They have a special responsibility, yes; but the conflation of illicit sex in general with sexual abuse is prevalent among lay Catholics too. This is a culture-wide problem, and it’s hurting people. I haven’t gathered my thoughts enough yet, but I’m planning to analyze this in more depth soon.


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