coulda been a contenda

By Diogenes (articles ) | Jan 04, 2006

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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  • Posted by: - Jan. 05, 2006 11:48 PM ET USA

    Pseudodionysius, I agree that Diogenes was probably not *intentionally* cruel. However, most people w/mental illness prob. don't have wilful, unrepentant sins on their consciences. IMO, it's thoughtless to compare moral faults (e.g., dissent from the Magisterium) which can be repented, to illnesses that aren't the fault of the person who is ill. Diogenes prob. wouldn't compare dissenters to people w/heart disease or cancer. Comparing dissenters to the mentally ill is also uncalled-for.

  • Posted by: - Jan. 05, 2006 12:25 PM ET USA

    Yes, the "another Jack Kennedy" remark struck me also. I suppose there are some (Democrats, most likely) who think Kennedy was a model of...something. Committed Catholic is probably not it, however. In tennis terms, more Anna Kournikova than Chris Evert, I'd venture.

  • Posted by: - Jan. 05, 2006 9:02 AM ET USA

    NCR is child's play, Diogenes. You should have a look through even one issue of the Catholic Telegraph, the newspaper of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, and you could find material to fill CWN for months. Archbishop Pilarczyk does write an excellent column every month on a theme from Sacred Scripture so I must give credit where it is due. However, the leftist editorializing and fawning adoration for the likes of Kung and Schillebeeckx is enough to require use of an airsickness bag.

  • Posted by: - Jan. 05, 2006 8:50 AM ET USA

    Diamida, I don't think that Uncle Di is being intentionally cruel. Many of us suspect that ranting dissenters are driving themselves into some type of deranged cognitive dissonance. Dostoevsky was a keen observer that wilful, unrepentant sin could, quite literally, split a person's psyche in two and create a virtual doppelganger. Scary. Sad. True.

  • Posted by: - Jan. 05, 2006 1:03 AM ET USA

    Diogenes, I took Haldol over 20 years ago. It gave me some nasty side effects—such as becoming so much a zombie that I was unable to read (thank God, once my meds were changed I could read again) & a mild case of tardive dyskinesia (facial tics, grimaces, etc.) that crops up from time to time. It's cruel to compare (presumably mentally healthy) people who dissent from the Magisterium to people with mental illness. Also, I empathize with Miss Havisham: please don't ridicule her, OK? :-)

  • Posted by: - Jan. 04, 2006 7:49 PM ET USA

    The "papal party in the curia"? Further proof that the NCR is no longer part of the Catholic fold.

  • Posted by: - Jan. 04, 2006 5:53 PM ET USA

    Another Jack Kennedy? Picture him loose among the nuns?

  • Posted by: - Jan. 04, 2006 4:16 PM ET USA

    A minor point, but McFarlane was Reagan's national security adviser, not Nixon's (Kissinger was that, at least in the first couple of years of Nixon's admintration).