I am on the road this coming Saturday, though not exactly for a long drive. I am going “cross town,” actually, to teach for my diocese in of all places the parish of my former pastorate, where I was stationed for the entire decade of the 1980’s. Over the years I have made occasional or annual visits, perhaps to the parish’s fall festival, for example. I do not worship there as we are members of the parish where my wife was the school principal for two decades before she retired. Also, I felt it was good protocol to make a clean break from the parish where I had served the longest. The Vatican requests this as a condition of the laicization process, though the local bishop has the final word on the activities of laicized priests. In my diocese all of them have been very congenial to my educational work. On a practical note, it is also good ecclesiastical politics to get out of the way of succeeding pastors. What I do find amusing is that having been gone now for 26 years, it is rare to encounter anyone there who remembers me. Sic transit gloria mundi. (“So goes the fame of this world.”)
I will be teaching one of our advanced sacraments courses, and I need today to update the outline and add new sources, so I don’t have a full Wednesday entry. But like manna from heaven, a very interesting link fell into my lap as I opened my email during “Morning Joe.” I heard from First Things, the conservative ecumenical/Catholic journal available in multiple formats including email (free, as far as I can tell, along with a daily newsletter I subscribe to.) This most recent email newsletter/essay is compiled by George Weigel, the noted Catholic author and biographer of Pope John Paul II. Weigel reports that the Synod of the Family, which begins on October 5, will be covered for First Things by Xavier Rynne II. There is great historical humor in this, as the original Xavier Rynne reported under the Rynne pseudonym during Vatican II. In that instance it was a progressive observer reporting on a Council controlled by conservatives; in this instance Rynne Junior is a conservative covering a synod that many conservatives believe stacked in favor of progressives. I can’t wait to begin reading these reports, and you may wish to subscribe to daily updates or connect First Things to your “favorites” tab. Rynne II’s second installment is here…I just found it.
Weigel also writes today about a new memoir from Vatican II by the theologian and noted peritus or Council advisor Henri de Lubac—you will recognize the names of some of the players from our own look at Vatican II here at the blog—and he includes an excellent thought on John Paul II’s vision of the family. While I occasionally disagree with some editorial positions of First Things, it is a strong academic, literary and orthodox contributor to Catholic thought today that I never ignore.
Thursday’s Catechism Analysis on Paragraph 19 is nearly finished and should go up tonight or early tomorrow.
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