Catholic Culture Dedication
Catholic Culture Dedication

coulda been a contenda

By Diogenes ( articles ) | Jan 04, 2006

Vision Book Cover Prints

Remember Miss Havisham of Great Expectations, the decayed spinster with her cob-webbed bridal chamber perpetually decorated for the wedding that never took place? The NCR, fresh out of Haldol, apparently, lets Robert Blair Kaiser indulge some Havishamian fantasy for its (macabre) gratification.

If he'd played his poker hand differently, Hans Küng could have been pope. The turning point in his life came when Pope Paul VI called Fr. Küng in after the fourth session of the Second Vatican Council and said, "You know you could really help the church." The pope was hinting that Fr. Küng could get along much better in the postconciliar church if he'd just go along with the papal party in the curia.

For another read on that "hint," visit the Jimmy Hoffa Museum of Contemporary Trade Union Leadership, somewhere in the vicinity of Meadowlands, New Jersey.

Had Fr. Küng taken the cue given him by Pope Paul, he could have been a formidable contender -- as Cardinal Küng -- at the conclave of 2005. Cardinal Ratzinger, for all his intelligence and political skills, was (and is) a pallid, timid man with limited people skills. (I could compare him with President Richard Nixon's security adviser, the sober Robert MacFarlane.) At the conclave, a vibrant Cardinal Küng might have been another Jack Kennedy, full of fun and alive with ideas for the church's new frontier.

Uh oh. Time for your meds, Miss H.

D'you think that, corresponding to those fantasy baseball clubs that parallel the pro game with a virtual league of their own, the NCR has all along been engaged in reporting on a fantasy catholicism -- one in which the promises of the '60s all came true and, e.g., Whoopi Cardinal Goldberg suppressed the papacy after her 1978 election? Have we missed the point by presuming that they've been dealing with the real Church "out there" -- the one the rest of us connect with on Sunday mornings, etc? If so, it would go far to explain the editorials, and this Kaiser piece as well. And as for the weekly column purportedly written by one "Bishop Thomas Gumbleton" -- such a figure couldn't be a real bishop, could he?

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