Are we to know this pope by the company he keeps?


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Did Archbishop Cupich blow an opportunity to defend traditional marriage?


Blithe Spirit

Phil Lawler, of Catholic World News, thinks so.

A contributor to the Chicago Sun-Times reports that he had a friendly exchange with Archbishop Blaise Cupich on the topic of same-sex marriage, and reproduces large chunks of that exchange for his readers. Naturally the archbishop says that he does not support legal recognition of same-sex marriage. Yet columnist Neil Steinberg observes: “To me, everything the archbishop said, except for his conclusions, is an argument for gay marriage.”

That sounds absurd, doesn’t it? Yet if you read the entire column you may find yourself hard-pressed to cite evidence proving Steinberg wrong.

The archbishop “thinks” this or that, sounding an uncertain trumpet. Timid.

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Battle is o’er, hell’s armies flee, sang British Catholics in the ’30s and ’40s


Blithe Spirit

Hymn translated by Ronald Knox, one of many for the Westminster Hymnal in the late ’30s. The very forcefulness of it would never pass in a church of today.

Finita jam sunt proelia
Battle is o’er, hell’s armies flee;
Raise we the cry of victory
With abounding joy resounding, alleluia.
Christ, who endured the shameful tree,
O’er death triumphant welcome we,
Our adoring praise outpouring, alleluia.
On the third morn from death rose he,
Clothed with what light in heaven shall be,
Our unswerving faith deserving, alleluia.
Hell’s gloomy gates yield up their key,
Paradise door thrown wide we see;
Never-tiring be our choiring, alleluia.
Lord, by the stripes men laid on thee,
Grant us to live from death set free,
This our greeting still repeating, alleluia.
Simphonia Sirenum, 1695, translated by R.A.Knox
Westminster Hymnal, 1939
It’s joyful. Unalloyed joy, I might even say unapologetic..

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Curiosity a balm to Cardinal in this life and the next


Blithe Spirit

Eager to learn:

Days before he died, Cardinal George reportedly told seminary rector Father Robert Barron that his curiosity was awakened, he was “so eager” to see God.

Wow. Like St. Therese of Lisieux, the Little Flower, who rejoiced when she coughed blood, knowing that the end was near.

more more more

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Monument to Tastelessness, anyone? Try the biggest apple in the whole wide world


Blithe Spirit

If you thought biting cultural criticism was dead, just in case you thought so anyhow, consider this about a new pride of the prideful Manhattan island:

On a recent visit to New York City, I had the opportunity to walk around the exterior of the new Whitney Museum, built at a cost of $442 million. It is a monument of a kind: to the vanity, egotism, and aesthetic incompetence of celebrity architects such as Renzo Piano, and to the complete loss of judgment and taste of modern patrons.

It’s by Theodore Dalrymple, in City Journal for April 22, 2015

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Sing, sing, sing


Blithe Spirit

Cantors at Catholic mass get out of hand sometimes, like the one at a recent mass I attended who sang well as far as I could tell, but alas, sang too loudly (belting it out), too long (every damn verse of whatever it was), and too often (does the cantor have that many openings usually?).

This one almost stole the show, upstaging the altar happenings, quiet prayerful reflection time, and in general forgetting that she is not the star of the event, but supporting case member.

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Vatican backstabbing: shades of Renaissance Italy . . .


Blithe Spirit

Pope Francis’s man for this season of cleaning up the financial stables is the target. He’s Cardinal George Pell of Australia, who has stirred up the hornets by a variety of actions:

For one thing, Pell clearly hasn’t been intimidated by lower-intensity pushback. On Monday, his Secretariat for the Economy released a set of procedures for closing the books on 2014, which among other things require every department head in the Vatican, for the first time, to sign a legally binding declaration that their reports are complete and correct.

The procedures also stipulate that external assets of a Vatican department have to be certified by the banks or other financial institutions that hold those assets, a classic expression of “trust but verify.”

For Pell, a day of reckoning approaches:

Pope Francis also returned on Friday from a week-long annual Lenten retreat, and sometime soon he’s expected to issue a new…

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