Archbishop Dolan’s transatlantic travel plans have been cancelled. I see that the Vatican has shelved plans to send a delegation of bishops to Syria.
Syria is a horrific story to follow. The whole world is watching. Well, the part not consumed and obsessed by “threats to American religious freedom” anyway. And the world is seemingly powerless. To me the escalation of hostilities by both sides (This resistance did start as non-violent, didn’t it?) illustrates perfectly the impotence of violence. And it shows that military and economic might is simply not enough to enrich and embellish human existence on its most basic level: growing up, becoming educated, marrying and having a family, finding meaningful work that contributes to one’s person and one’s society. And following God. Ugliness, bitterness, and anger will overtake us at any turn.
I was actually looking forward to seeing what the Jovial One would say and do after he returned from Damascus. They say that grim realities of life were an education for the conservative prelate of San Salvador in the 70’s. Would that all bishops were open to the post-installation education of Oscar Romero. Then maybe Archbishop George’s oft-cited witticism (full story on that here) would have some real teeth, rather than being an ironic predictor of future sex abuse cover-ups.
Not far behind is the impotence of rich businessdudes who advocate for revolution in our own country. I suppose that from the penthouse of Trump Tower, it would look like a scene on faraway tv. And just as one can turn off the tube, Mr Trump can close the curtains. And delete his tweets, pretending it never happened.
Even more disturbing that the robocalls haven’t been turned off (I got two messages last night on my cell.) are the calls on Catholic blogs calling for revolution, resistance, and “taking the gloves off” the next time. Are they trying to tell me all those fists with tense knuckles were really mittens? The Anchoress says people need time to “process.” I suppose she’s right. I hope that processing will lead to more civility, more listening, and more discernment. She’s been among those who have suggested that truth knows no civility and we shouldn’t be shy about being firm and in-your-face about what we believe and what we believe others should believe.
Where do you suppose Archbishop Dolan will go next?