February 2017

Cohabitation & Mother Church

Anthony Spadaro’s recent blog post on cohabitation leads me to wonder if it might be time to retire that term Mother Church. Under the tenure of Jorge Bergoglio, the ancient maternal image of nourishment and protection for believers has shriveled to an empty figure of speech. The language remains—Mater Ecclesia—but the motivating substance is gone. What we are left with is a misleading personification, as susceptible to misuse as any other sentimental usage. Let us try the term Nanny Church. A nanny does not have the authority of a mother. Continue Reading
Gregory Baum, Michael Novak & Humanae Vitae

Gregory Baum does not know when to stop writing books. It would have been better if the man, at 93, had carried his secrets with him to the grave. Baum’s forthcoming autobiography, The Oil Has Not Run Dry: the Story of My Theological Pathway is an old man’s tell-all. Part confession, part boast, the book serves as an end-of-life apologia for Baum’s career as an influential theologian among the periti at Vatican II. Its sexual disclosures testify to the craving of the tell-tale heart to unburden itself while it is still beating. Continue Reading
Dr. Fell & Fr. Bergoglio

Jorge Bergoglio and a particular old ditty go together in my mind. Of all the nursery rhymes I treasured in childhood, the one I still recite—sotto voce and out of earshot of other grownups—is Tom Brown’s snub to Dr. Fell. “I do not like thee, Dr. Fell / The reason why I cannot tell. / But this I know, and know full well, / I do not like thee, Dr. Fell.”     This plucky little canticle of personal distaste was penned in imitation of a Martial epigram while Brown (d.1704) was a student at Christ Church, Oxford. Continue Reading