Catholic Culture Solidarity
Catholic Culture Solidarity

just innocent fun

By Diogenes ( articles ) | Feb 23, 2004

The NCR's John Allen reminisces about South African Bishop Denis Hurley, who died February 13 at age 88.

My first contacts with Hurley concerned ICEL, when I was reporting on the "liturgy wars" in the late 1990s. He and I spoke on the telephone and exchanged e-mails many times. I met him in person for the first time in the fall of 2000, when he came to Rome for a lecture. His first words to me, even before "hello," were: "What do you say we go find this Medina fellow and toss him in the Tiber?"

Classic Hurley.

The reference was to Cardinal Jorge Medina Estévez, the Chilean who at the time was prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. Medina was the driving force behind Rome's clampdown on ICEL. Hurley, who felt a bit like a grandfather seeing his beloved grandchildren under assault, wasn't in the mood to mince words. Yet Hurley also had a twinkle in his eye, signaling that he wasn't really serious about doing anyone harm.

Very interesting. One wonders how it would have played if the ideological roles were reversed, if the pleasantry had come from one of the yobs: "What do you say we go find this schmuck Weakland and toss Paul Marcoux in Nantucket Sound?" Would the NCR vest-pocket the quote until it was politically toothless and then trot it out as "Classic Wojtyla"?

For the record: even when joshing immuno-compromised higher ecclesiastics and their parole officers, Diogenes is to be imagined as having a twinkle in his eye.

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