Archbishop Fernández

Vulgarity, Popularity, & The Periphery

Flannery O’Connor said it first: “Stupidity and vulgarity are harder to put up with than sin, harder on the nerves.” Therein is one reason Pope Francis is so irritating. By no means can any man who ascends to the Chair of Peter be faulted for stupidity. But one who pants after personal popularity as Francis does opens himself to the charge of vulgarity. Vulgarity is a roomy concept. It covers more than crude language and slack manners. Showing off, too, is vulgar. Continue Reading
Milo Winter. The Ass & His Driver. Illustration for The Aesop for Children (1919).

Those old sayings stay with us for good reason. Our bones absorb them in childhood; we can never outgrow them. Later, as adults, we find ourselves forever surprised by the truth of them. No small part of our initial moral education is owed to Aesop. His bestiary brought warnings against all kinds of vanity, thick-headed mischief, and unkindness. His dictums came to us together with our first prayers. Let us not fret here over his status as an historical figure or, as some surmise, a legendary one. Continue Reading