Church politics

stalking horse

The current drumbeat for universal vaccination with an experimental biological agent is unprecedented. It ought to be met with a certain reserve. Instead, it has been greeted with child-like trust and promoted by Pope Francis. In the time of COVID, the military-industrial complex of sixty years ago has been upstaged by the medical-industrial complex. And the pope approves. A needle in every arm and “global governance” to enforce it—pharmaceutical redemption is at hand. Francis spoke for authoritarian world-improvers from Davos to Foggy Bottom when he called for “a justly financed [read: U.S. Continue Reading
A confused signalman

Winding its way through Latin Mass circles is a clip from Brian Holdsworth’s digital evangelism. A Catholic convert in Edmonton, Alberta, and founder of Holdsworth Design, this entrepreneurial web designer understands the importance of branding as a marketing tool. Without putting too fine a point on it, evangelizing and marketing have something crucial in common. Both aim to make a sale. Presentation is a bit stagey, from the Jesus-Christ-Superstar hairstyle to set design—guitars on the wall, swords in the corner, that armet on a shelf. Continue Reading
Arthur rackham illustration

It is getting harder to do more than write off the cuff. Play it by ear. Reading the news has become painful enough. Responding to it coherently, and in a timely way, seems increasingly futile. Insanity rains down on us at such speed I can’t keep up. I am in awe of others who can. I honor anyone able to grasp a starting point within chaos, capable of imposing order on discussion of it. And has the stomach to discern its destination. Continue Reading
USCCB Voter Guide: Clarity Be Damned

The USCCB’s voter guide, updated in advance of the 2020 election, was an evasive inventory of issues that, by sheer volume, effectively sidelined abortion. The manic jumble gave cover to Catholics who preferred abortion-happy Biden to Donald Trump. My essay “Politics As Spiritual Warfare”, in the November issue of Chronicles, cited a Wisconsin bishop’s slippery advice:
Doublespeak does not edify. Writing a column entitled, “How to vote according to our Catholic faith,” Bishop Donald Hying of Madison, Wisconsin repeats the USCCB’s position that “abortion surpasses all other moral issues,” though he adds a caveat.
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Cardinal Ravasi's Embrace Of Art And Fashion

Cardinal Ravasi’s embrace of art and fashion, the two dominant enthusiasms of secular culture, conveys a this-wordly moralism more theatrical than moral. Of all modern substitutes for religion, art is the most esteemed. It veils contemporary materialism in the language of transcendent values. The cardinal wasted no time embracing the peculiar nature of the high-stakes art world. Pope Francis was installed in March, 2013. Two months later Ravasi announced the Vatican’s first foray into the Venice Biennale. Beginning with a modest prehistory in 1893, the Biennale has evolved into the ultimate bazaar. Continue Reading