Corruptio Timmy, O.P., Pessima

By Diogenes ( articles ) | Dec 24, 2006

Can't understand why the odds are lengthening. The betting line above indicates the punters give former Dominican Master General Timothy Radcliffe one chance in ten of becoming the next Archbishop of Westminster (Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor turns 75 next August, and the bookies already have the phone lines open). Eight weeks ago, the odds on Radcliffe had heated up to 7-1, according to the Telegraph's Jonathan Petre, but the competition has tightened in the meantime.

Contemporary Brits like their bishops squishy, perhaps by way of compensation for the John Fishers and Henry Mannings whose obduracy in the matter of doctrine meant orthodox Catholics weren't proper Garden Party material for four centuries or so.

Radcliffe, no Recusant, knows his way around the society sideboard. Last March we saw him avidly licking the frosting off the Brokeback biscuit at the Los Angeles Religious Ed confab, and a week from now he is to explain how Billy Elliot is a Jesus Figure -- or is it the other way around? The point, at any rate, is that the Holy Family was open to diversity and it's OK for men to cry provided they shave their legs. Radcliffe has considerately posted his sermon for next week's Feast ahead of time:

Billy Elliot is a film about a family from the north of England. They are miners. They live with the threat of unemployment. They are strong, aggressive people. The son of the family is called Billy, and he discovers that he hates boxing, the family sport. He wants to be a ballet dancer. It is a scandal. Real men do not become dancers. Finally the father sees his son dance, and he understands that this is Billy's life. It is a story about courage. There is the courage of the miners, who fight for their jobs. There is the courage of Billy, who dares to be different. Finally the greatest courage is that of his father, who embraces his son and lets him go and live a life he cannot understand.

Jesus escapes from the little world of his family, and then he comes back offering them the vast home of the Kingdom. May he give us the grace to let go of those whom we love, keeping the door open for their return, trusting that they will come back with gifts we could not have imagined.

This warm-hearted story of a Yorkshire collier's son (played by Haley Mills) shows us a lad who learns to name and own who he is, without regard for mindless bigotries (played by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith) or parochial conventions. Billy goes through a 12-Step (pas de douze) program, and in the end is not attracted to miners. (He's currently the 7-2 favorite for Lancaster.)

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