That Easter Effect is worth keeping in mind in this season of Catholic discontent. Even amidst anger and embarrassment, Christians can do the work of evangelization because the first Easter told us that, for the truly converted disciple who has met the risen Lord, despair never gets the final word: God will vindicate his plan for the salvation of the world.
A LENTEN QUIZ: Which came first, God’s creation of the world or God’s covenant with Israel? If we think in terms of chronology, the answer is obvious. If we think theologically, however, we get a different answer – and the drama of creation, covenant, and redemption comes into clearer focus.
Readers of a certain vintage (say, over 60) will remember the Imperial Margarine TV ad that dismissed butter as “the high-priced spread.” That image came to mind rather unexpectedly when I was addressing the parents’ associations of two prestigious Catholic prep schools several years ago.
YOUR EMINENCE:I noted with interest your recent announcement of a “binding synodal process” during which the Church in Germany will discuss the celibacy of the Latin-rite Catholic priesthood, the Church’s sexual ethic and clericalism, these being “issues” put on the table by the crisis of clerical sexual abuse.
WHEN A POPE IS ELECTED, the cardinals who have just chosen him make their way to the Hall of Benedictions atop the narthex of St. Peter’s Basilica.
CARDINAL GEORGE Pell’s December 2018 conviction on charges of “historic sexual abuse” was a travesty of justice, thanks in part to a public atmosphere of hysterical anti-Catholicism – a fetid climate that had a devastating impact on the possibility of his receiving a fair trial.
IN DECEMBER 1894, Captain Alfred Dreyfus of the French Army was convicted of treason on the grounds that he had given military secrets to France’s mortal enemy, Germany. The charge was false; Dreyfus, a Jew, was framed.
IN THE MID-1980S, my wife and I were invited to a baptism and post-christening reception at the home of the newborn’s parents. During the latter festivities, I was introduced to a young man who was working on a doctorate in Church history at Harvard. We fell into conversation and after 20 minutes or so I had one of those rare experiences that is so precious in life: I knew, instinctively, that Borys Gudziak and I were going to be close friends for a very long time.
Despite Pope Francis’ lecture on the subject at Synod-2015, and notwithstanding the passages on it in Synod-2018’s final report, there is little agreement in 21st-century Catholicism on what “synodality” means. In practical terms, perhaps synodality ought to mean something roughly analogous to what our British cousins mean by “horses for courses.” There, the phrase is a homely caution against one-size-fits-all remedies to problems.
FIRST CIRCULATED underground in communist Czechoslovakia in October 1978, Vaclav Havel’s brilliant dissection of totalitarianism, “The Power of the Powerless,” retains its salience four decades later. It should be required reading for politicians given to describing the Knights of Columbus as an “extremist” organization because of the Knights’ pro-life convictions and activism.