Pope Benedict is changing the conversation

July 10, 2009


His Holiness is changing the conversation.

For decades the progressivists have been able to shift the Church around slowly but surely more in line with their preferences because, first and foremost, they were able to set aside their minor differences and act more as a block.  Of course this is a simplification, but I think it is what happened.  On the other side, those with more traditional leanings tend to like to fight with each other over nuances, albeit important nuances.  The gross effect, however, is that these groups and individuals wind up fighting over their own trench and therefore cannot gain any real ground.  

Another way the progressivists have been able to get their own agendas through was the use of patience.  They use a sort of creeping incrementalism.  Use the “boiling the frog” analogy, if you like.  All they tried to do, craftily, was shift the paradigm we see things through a half degree at a time, every once in a while.  Occasionally give it a little bump.  After a few decades we wake up to find ourselves in a different Church.

The more traditional stamp of Catholic will often then demand that everything be brought back to the way it was, the way it ought to be, overnight.  “Why doesn’t the Holy Father just fix this?”, they lament.  “Why doesn’t the bishop do something?”, they repeat.  

Changes made incrementally often need to be walked back incrementally.

Furthermore, the ironic twist of being in a position of power and influence means that you are often quite dependent, even more so, on others to implement your vision for change.  The Pope is simply not capable of guiding the Church by fiat.  To implement a plan, you must have enough people on your side who will carry out your wishes, that there is a reasonable chance for success.  To launch a project, especially a large one, without the proper support from those who must actually do the work, could result in disaster, a real wound to your authority.

Pope John Paul II, over a period of almost three decades, slowly but surely, incrementally, shifted the fundamental alignment of the world’s episcopate.  He didn’t attempt to work to quickly in his assignments so as to provoke reactions ever harsher than he received.  He was patient in bearing even the promotions of men he probably knew were against his ideas.  He bore it and kept working.  Because of that patience, we have a very different body of bishops in, say, the United States.  Along with the demographic shift, the biological solution, a new generation of bright young people for whom the dreamy “spirit of Vatican II” is a yawner, there is reason for great hope in the United States.  And the rest of the world gets around to following.

Pope Benedict is now very wisely shifting the paradigms.  He is building on the long, patient preparatory work of his esteemed predecessor. For example, he understood that there was at last enough support around the world and in the Curia in key places for him to promulgate Summorum Pontificum.  In his years as a writer he provided a whole shelf of writings which explain his views.  He is now shifting the paradigm in another direction.  And even though it is an incremental shifting, his bumps are actually fairly dramatic. 

He is changing ongoing conversations and introducing new themes for discussion, looking especially to the good will and energy of a younger generation. 


MSM: Palin is Crazy, MJ is a Hero

July 10, 2009

From CMR:

If ever you needed evidence that the media was completely out of touch with America, this week was a perfect example.

Michael Jackson who was likely a pedophile, definitely a recluse, and clearly an unfit parent, is portrayed in the media as a talented hero who suffered at the hands of his fame.

Sarah Palin, on the other hand, who worked her way up from the PTA to being Governor of Alaska and whose appeal is her relatability to regular folks, is portrayed as a crazy lunatic fit only for scorn and punchlines.

It’s been essentially ignored by the media that Jackson likely abused children.

And Palin is reviled because she dared to love what some call an imperfect child. (If you don’t agree with that last statement, just ask yourself how the media would’ve looked on Palin if she’d proudly announced she’d aborted her Down’s Syndrome baby and was pro-choice.)

Michael Jackson paid out millions in hush money to families of children he was “close with” and that hardly merits a mention in the week long lionizing of MJ.

But Sarah Palin is guilty of charges that nobody has even made. ABC’s David Wright implied some nefarious motives behind Palin’s announcement without any evidence, according to Newsbusters:

“It is difficult to ignore the timing of this announcement, late on a Friday afternoon, on a holiday weekend. Many Americans bound to be tuned out. That suggests that the reasons are not good ones.”

And that wasn’t an isolated incident. MSNBC aired a similarly baseless accusation:

There has been speculation that she has some legal issue that is not yet known to the public.

To the media, Jackson’s ability to draw a crowd is a testament to his undeniable talent that excuses his rather obvious and serious character faults.

But Palin’s ability to draw a crowd is seen as an indictment of the “ultra right wing” and is evidence that she’s out of touch with moderates.

The media slavishly reported Al Sharpton’s comments that Michael Jackson was a victim of racism while continuing their own sexist allegations against Sarah Palin like when CNN’s Richard Sanchez posited that Palin might be stepping down because she was pregnant again. (As if being pregnant were a high misdemeanor worthy of removal from office)

Some good news, however. The Los Angeles Times seemed in awe of MJ’s memorial and declared it “somber, evangelical, thunderous and hushed.” This is notable only in the sense that it’s the first time (and probably the last) that the LA Times has used the term “evangelical” in a positive sense.

The same term “evangelical” has been used to paint Palin as a fundamentalist freakshow fringe member of a political party which has been relegated to permanent minority status.

So, in short, in today’s America a hardworking Mom in politics is a joke who is obviously guilty of something while an alleged pedophile is a hero because he could dance. America is entering an interesting time in that mainstream Americans will not continue to allow themselves to go unrepresented by their own elected officials and the media for too much longer. And for the first time I sense people waking up to the disconnect.