Month: March 2005

The Successor

John Paul II has received last rites. Who will be the successor? We’ve heard three theories:

1. The next Pope will be malevolent and cause great harm to the Church. This is an unacknowledged prophecy from at least one purported mystic.

2. The next Pope is going to be harshly conservative, forcing dissident Catholics to fall in line or leave. Basically, he supposedly will follow JPII’s teachings, but will enforce them with iron.

3. The next Pope will be a liberal. This latter might just be wishful thinking by the shrinking Catholic left.
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Rodrigo Revisited

It appears we may have been duped with respect to the Maradiago story (see below). We asked for comments, and we got ’em. A reader wrote to us earlier this afternoon:

“You got played. The canadafreepress story about Maradiaga copied most of its ‘quotes’ from an article that appeared in The Onion a few weeks back. I don’t think The Onion still has the story up, but here’s evidence of it:”

Ouch for us. We’ll live to battle another day, though.… Read the rest

Fat and Poor

According to the Child Well-Being Index, America’s children are fat but sober, poor but safe. Basically, everything seems to be going well for them, except they’re poorer and getting big as whales. It’s probably because they’re spending all their money on food. LINK
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On Comics

Interesting article about society’s attitude toward comics. For the first half of the century, the article says comics were condemned as “intellectual marijuana” and contributors to juvenile delinquency. In the last half of the century, they were accepted, thanks in large part to Marshall McLuhan and Walter Ong. Here are two excerpts:

“The careers of two Catholic intellectuals, Marshall McLuhan and Father Walter Ong, illustrate how comics re-won respect in the post-war era. In the 1940s, long before his fame as a media guru, McLuhan was exciting the imagination of bright, young students by confidently linking together disparate phenomena, from modernist art to medieval theology, into a single worldview. He gathered around him a circle of fledging scholars, including a young priest named Walter Ong, who were eager to join in his quest to make sense of the modern techno-communication landscape — what we now call, thanks in part to McLuhan, the media.

”In their early work, the McLuhan circle tended to be critical of mass culture. Ong, for example, attacked Mickey Mouse in 1941 as ‘Mr. Disney’s West-Coast rodent,’ while McLuhan in 1951 suggested that Superman was a potential dictator.

”Yet as they immersed themselves in the subject, they quickly became more appreciative of popular culture, finding possibilities for creativity and even liturgical beauty in art aimed at a broad audience.

”In 1951, Ong was openly praising Walt Kelley’s Pogo for displaying a linguistic playfulness reminiscent of James Joyce and Gertrude Stein. McLuhan, meanwhile, came to cherish L’il Abner and Mad magazine as evidence that sophisticated satire could be appreciated by both young and old. And he was critical of society’s kneejerk reaction to comics in general.”

”In their shifting attitude toward popular culture, the McLuhan circle was a harbinger of change.”Read the rest

Debt Culture is Dangerous Culture

“The sheer scale of consumer debt has made millions of households extremely vulnerable to shocks in the economy, both from fiscal mismanagement and external factors such as oil price rises, acts of terrorism and wars. A downturn in the economy would create serious economic and social problems for the fifteen million people who struggle with debt repayments. Debt is a time-bomb which could be triggered by any number of shocks to the economy, at any time.” Lord Bryan Griffiths


As set forth in the article, Lord Griffiths is a sober individual who doesn’t ring alarm bells without reason. Lord Griffiths is talking about UK consumer debt, but the same type of problem confronts the U.S. and Canada. … Read the rest

What’s the Standard in Bath Houses?

We doubt many in our reading crowd need it, but Slate’s “Dear Prudence” column has provided guidance on homosexual public display of affection. We like the underlying assumption that such displays are fine overall. More normalizing:

“Prudie’s opinion about the ongoing head-butting is that anybody’s PDA (hetero and gay) should be within the bounds of restraint. Handholding in public is fine, necking is not. (For everyone.) A spontaneous expression of love—a brief one—is fine if it’s not for effect and there would be no consequences … for example, if you’re in an environment known to be homophobic, you would be asking for trouble. If you know someone who might be discomfited by seeing two girls display physicality, skip it. As the erudite Roger Rosenblatt has written, ‘If you find yourself making accommodations, that does not make you a hotel.’ In this case, it just makes you thoughtful.” LINK
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Rodrigo Revisited?

Note: The following post turned out to be false (see explanation above)

With the Holy Father failing, one Cardinal has apparently made it known that he’s the man for the job:

“’When the Sacred College of Cardinals names me pope, I’m gonna shake things up,’ [Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez] Maradiaga said. ‘And I’m not just talking about giving the Pope mobile a new coat of paint. I’m talking about big moves that will reconfirm the Catholic Church’s position as the supreme, full and immediate power in the secretarian world, may God grant us peace.’” LINK

If the white smoke flies for Maradiaga, might we hear shouts of “I am Pope! I am Pope!” the words of Rodrigo Borgia upon winning the papal election in the fifteenth century (Rodrigo took the name, “Alexander VI”)? We hate to knock Maradiaga since we don’t know much about him, but a handful of his quotes strike us as audacious and unbecoming of a man who purports to carry a job of humility.

If anyone knows more about him that would assauge our concerns, we’d like to hear it and, because he’s a Cardinal and owed respect, we will run it (crackpot comments aside). … Read the rest