Wishing You Comfort in this Time of Grief

By Diogenes (articles ) | Feb 19, 2004

Writing to a friend, Flannery O'Connor once remarked about a distant relative:

She always leaves me with a warm feeling -- as if I had just been promoted to the fourth grade after having stayed in the third grade two years.

O'Connor exactly describes my own invariable reaction to Bishop Wilton Gregory, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and master of the Hallmark Card school of condolence. Herewith a specimen from today's Wall Street Journal:

On Feb. 27, the National Review Board will also make public a report presenting the results of the Board's interviews with numerous knowledgeable people relating to the "how and why" of this crisis. This second report obviously will not be "scientific" as the John Jay study is, but will provide an important perspective of a group of dedicated Catholic laity who share the bishops' commitment to a safe future for all children. ...

While apprehensive about the forthcoming difficult news, I feel the confidence that comes with facing a situation clearly and fully. I believe that God can bring new life out of suffering. I have seen Catholic dioceses bringing about reconciliation, including the Archdiocese of Boston under Archbishop Sean O'Malley.

All the predictable wind chimes get a tinkle (knowledgeable, perspective, dedicated, commitment, safe future, reconciliation) yet to the extent Gregory says anything at all he answers questions that no one has raised.

Q. Bishop Gregory, have you observed dioceses bringing about reconciliation -- as, for example, in the Archdiocese of Boston under Archbishop Sean O'Malley?

A. Nah, I was watching the Packers and Rams that night.

Still, it's nice to know Gregory feels the confidence that comes with facing a situation clearly and fully. Perhaps his successor will give us a clue as to what situation he had in mind. I'm not holding my breath.

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  • Posted by: - Feb. 20, 2004 10:01 AM ET USA

    geno, you silly. why would gay marriage even "somewhat" protect them? for gays, partners are like potato chips, can't stop at just one!

  • Posted by: - Feb. 19, 2004 11:49 PM ET USA

    maybe we should allow the homosexual priests to marry one another so they'll keep their hands off teenage boys. then the boys will be somewhat-I say somewhat- protected, and the vocation shortage will be taken care of. california here we come!

  • Posted by: - Feb. 19, 2004 8:18 PM ET USA

    ahh for clearly and fully!

  • Posted by: - Feb. 19, 2004 4:59 PM ET USA

    Normnuke, I agree with you as to who writes it and the humour intrinsic which is why Diogenes, and Diogenes style wannabes such as myself give it the Manippean satirical treatment as we do.

  • Posted by: - Feb. 19, 2004 3:51 PM ET USA

    In the obvious belief that its audience is too dumb to notice, Bishop Gregory's statement says nothing. I can't help the feeling, when I read one of these things, that the people who write them (not the bishops themselves, obviously) must laugh uproariously to one another as they do so.

  • Posted by: - Feb. 19, 2004 11:19 AM ET USA

    Its also nice that "I" feel the confidence rather than getting the "sensus fidei" as Cardinal Newman would have said, excusing my atrocious attempt at latin prose, of course. In passing the thought has occurred to me; given that Cardinal Newman was a latinate stylist of the Ciceronian school, I do indeed wonder if the egocentric pagan Cicero would have handled this crisis any differently. I mean, its not as though the Catechism quotes Cicero at all, so, what would be the point of it?

  • Posted by: - Feb. 19, 2004 11:06 AM ET USA

    Bishop Wilton Gregory sounds the tone in his latest WSJ homily to the wizened and clueless that he's a man sitting on a mattress full of dynamite and everyone in the room is smoking cigarettes. One flick of the ash from a stray cigarette butt on Ash Wednesday at the Passion and the powder keg that he's been so gingerly babysitting is going to go up. Cardinal Mahony call your office.