Punditry

I have a moderately high opinion of John Allen’s endeavor at Crux. My caution is that I think he’s finding it difficult to fill the space that earlier this month was filled by the synod. I think he makes good points in today’s column contrasting the treatment of Cardinal Kasper and Archbishop Chaput for remarks taken out of context. But “honeymoon is over”? Maybe not. The laity pretty much get to decide this one, not the bishops or pundits.

Looking at recent history, I don’t think the honeymoon was ever over for JP2 and B16. Neither of them had a Humanae Vitae moment like Paul VI. I think followers and detractors were pretty much always in place. In other words, people have their opinions on some things (and some other people) and no quantity of facts will change that.

Likewise, I thought the “Oscar” commentary was lame. If I were on Team Allen at the Globe, I would have applauded the stuff of the commentary, but not the way it was framed. Mr Allen nearly always has interesting news bits–that’s why most of us read him.

If Pope Francis were off the honeymoon, the critics wouldn’t be going after his lieutenants and perceived opponents with such fervor. I think the pope’s critics are in a more tenuous situation. Their worldview is largely pessimistic. And when you’re a pessimist, you’re always waiting for the next worst thing to happen.

On the liturgy front, it’s the way Rome has been working for years now. We got Redemptionis Sacramentum, a document designed not to inspire people to good behavior, but to set out parameters for the bad. It’s the flaw in the hermeneutic of subtraction. RS isn’t going to inspire the creation of great new music or art. It will punish the pretenders. And the occasional poor soul caught in the crossfire.

We need a new approach. Something that exposes tittles and jots in the law for what they are: small-minded markings that don’t amount to very much in the big picture.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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