Thursday, June 09, 2005

Keeper of the Notes

Dziwisz speaks, again. And the notes ain't goin' anywhere.

"The Holy Father gave me an absolutely free hand on the matter,'' Dziwisz said [at a Krakow press conference]. "It is my responsibility what to keep. And I absolutely don't see that anything should be burned, destroyed,'' he said. "I think this belongs to the Church, to the society and to the general culture.''

He's right. By the construction of the sentence, it seems the "Holy Father" who has given "an absolutely free hand" here is not John Paul, but Benedict XVI. Dziwisz is not so stupid as to make this kind of move without the approval of the incumbent pope, so we can be sure that B16's on the wagon. And as the Pope is the supreme governor of the church and the Vatican State, there is no way it can be challenged.

But for some paranoid reason, CWNews -- the Catholic right's equivalent of (anti-)Catholics for a Free Choice -- are extremely anxious to defy the Pope (again) and throw John Paul's papers in the furnace. They've even begun to turn Don Stanislaw into Annibale Bugnini, a distortion which could be considered as sinful, if not criminal, character assassination. Check this priceless comment from one of the Lawler faithful:

Shall we perhaps look at this as an early test of Pope Benedict? A 'phone call to Krakow, maybe, quietly saying, "Stan, ol' buddy: burn the notes. Got it? Or would you rather be Archbishop of, say, Mecca?" Naturally, none of us would ever know. The Archbishop could just say he'd changed his mind.

It just gets worse every day. Even John Allen -- who could stay calm and cool as bombs drop around him -- is losing his patience.


For a good while, I've been getting requests from interested parties as to my speculation on the succession to Archbishop Levada in San Francisco.

Because early spec is just that, speculation for its own sake, I resolved, for once, to avoid the fray -- because where there's a vacuum of truth, rumors and innuendo easily take over. And then, of course, there's the Washington situation, where it's not just spec for its own sake but bitter people who want to shoot Cardinal McCarrick to the moon on his birthday. God help us.

Nevertheless, it's still early in the process, the names are abounding and so much can change, but I've been briefed enough to posit for San Fran the name of Michael Sheehan, the 65 year-old archbishop of Santa Fe.

Sheehan is possessed of extensive episcopal experience (made bishop of Lubbock at 41), a stellar track-record of restoring confidence in local churches ravaged by abuse scandals (Santa Fe and Phoenix), and a Levada-esque pragmatism, nuance and constructiveness on translating doctrine into practice.

That's the tip right now, but who knows what the future brings?


Lastly, as much as I hate to do it, I have to return to reality and make another pitch.

The hits keep coming. As it looks, between 200 and 300 people drop in every day to check the news and views. It's simply overwhelming.

But times are tough for a starving Vaticanista -- "pope-fatigue" has ravaged the secular press, compelling me to craft new and innovative ways to work on, literally, a shoestring. And despite the threats and bile of crazy people who e.mail me everyday, I'd like to keep on keeping on without selling out to advertisers or anyone who could dilute what I say and how I say it.

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Blogger Jacob said...

I don't get any mail. :( I'm envious.

Actually, I think that prediction for the SF see is probably true. Of what I've read on Sheehan, it's been pretty much all positive.

As much as Fessio's appointment would make good entertainment, Sheehan would be the more qualified and certainly saner choice.

9/6/05 17:11  

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