2015

Scrap the Mea Culpa!

I take it back. There was no hoax—certainly nothing that required apology from me. In hindsight, my haste to correct a supposed error was premature. As things stand, it looks as if the Vatican, embarrassed by bad publicity, reneged on its agreement with the European Society of Aesthetic Gynecologists [ESAG]. Backspace to Jay Akbar’s column in The Daily Mail, “Secrets of the G-Spot Unraveled . . . . by the Vatican: Catholic university overseen by the Catholic Church to host conference about the secrets of the female body.” A provocative title to be sure, but not a deceitful one. Continue Reading
Mea Culpa

The Patristic Institute Augustinianum wrote to correct me. There will be no conference of European cosmetic surgeons at the Vatican’s Patristic Institute Augustinianum. It was a hoax. And I fell for it. Mea maxima culpa. I am chagrined for having let myself be taken in. Now I really am blushing. I allowed my distaste for this grotesque pontificate to get the better of me.   Hieronymus Bosch. The Cure of Folly (15th C.)   Alexandros Bader does, indeed, practice cosmetic/aesthetic gynecology. Continue Reading
The Cherry Tree Carol

Titian. Madonna of the Cherries (c. 1515). Kunsthistorsches Museum, Vienna The Cherry Tree Carol is a seasonal jewel. It dates back to the cycle of mystery plays performed in Coventry during the Feast of Corpus Christi, around the year 1400. History has brought to life various renditions of it, all of them indebted to the vagaries of memory, an era’s substitution of newer phrasings for antiquated ones, or simply the preferences of singers. Folklorists, liturgists and musicologists agree that it is really more accurate to speak of a Cherry Tree series than of a single carol. Continue Reading
Circling The Void

Many are called but few are chosen. There are sayings of Christ which suggest that the Church he came to establish will always be a minority affair. (Edward Norman)
Edward Norman has been on my mind recently. At seventy eight, he belongs to that generation of scholar-priests we cannot afford to lose. Not now. Better known in Britain than here, he has had a long, distinguished career as an historian, an academic, and a priest of the Church of England. Among his ecclesial credits, is Dean of Chapel, Christ Church College, Canterbury and, later, Canon Chancellor of York Minster. Continue Reading
Mercy On Discount

The touted Year of Mercy has just begun and already I am tired of it. Not of mercy itself—never that. I am just bone-weary of the hawking of this self-conscious, arbitrary, lumbering thing. Suddenly forgiveness is on discount, a high quality item available at bargain prices for a limited time only. For twelve months, the Church becomes an outlet mall designed to broaden its customer base. Narrowing the gap between the Church and its competitors for consumer satisfaction is the obvious objective. Continue Reading