I had just finished reading this blog post by Damian Thompson during my lunch break at work, and something didn’t seem right, I felt like I had slipped into a parallel dimension where our dear leader Vinny was fantastic, and that he was somehow suddenly directly responsible for the Liturgy of the Pope’s visit to the UK.
Then I read Catholic and loving it, and just as my thoughts of incongruity were formulating themselves I realised they had already been put rather spectacularly into form.
A little polemical, but perhaps the best snippet of satire I’ve read in a long while. I guffawed at the top of my voice and got plenty of funny looks from the disparate corners of the office, and when I couldn’t stop chuckling to myself for the rest of the day they undoubtedly thought I’d taken something with the humble offerings of the water-cooler.
I hate to use the hippyesque phrase “you’ve sold out man” but that blog piece on Vinny just doesn’t have the same ring of previous posts Damian. (in looking up hippy in the Oxford English I found that hippy-dippy is in there, perhaps that’s what is going on here)
Don’t get me wrong, Damian Thompson and more specifically his blog was one of the reasons I decided to start a Blog myself. I discovered his blog whilst pottering around on the Telegraph website one day and saw as he exposed some of the mishaps and downright howlers going on, not only in the secular world, but also in the Hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales.
Additionally I’m well aware of the burgeoning potential for a Thatcherite riposte to the title of this post which Damien is most welcome to make use of, if he comes back to his senses, back to his former self.
So perhaps I should say what I think of Vinny? and as soon as that thought went through my head I was struck with the exact quote to encapsulate my feeling on the matter. That feeling was instantly remindful of a quote from the West Wing, yes I know that show is pathetic liberal fantasy material in places but it is still good. The quote came from Episode 4 season 5 “Han” and I’m going to shamelessly rip it off thus:
“In a triumph of the middling, a nod to mediocrity, and with gorge rising, it gives me great nausea to announce Vincent Nichols – Vapid Vinny, himself – as your new Cardinal.
This lapdog of the Liberal agenda is as dull as he is unremarkable…
…as lackluster as he is soporific. This reversion to the mean…
…this rebuke to the exemplary…
…gives hope to the millions unfavored by the exceptional… Vincent Nichols: not the worst, not the best, just what we’re stuck with.”
Perhaps it is time that the assumption that Archbishops automatically qualify for the red hat if they can remember to zip up their flies when exiting a bathroom needs to be challenged.
Perhaps even the assumption that England must have a Cardinal needs to go the the way of the Dodo? There are better candidates among Bishops abroad and I would far rather have someone better able to reproduce the same spectacularly sound choice in the next convocation as was discerned at the last.
But alas I fear I have slipped into a Traddy fantasy world, where the magic circle, as Damien (perhaps no longer???) calls them, don’t get constant wish fulfillment.
It seems to me that; if the Pope is chosen from the college of Cardinals, and Cardinals have to be chosen from Archbishops as mediocre as Vinny, and Archbishops from the least offensive of Bishops.
And if Bishops, at least in this country, are chosen from that “select” pool of clergy that don’t offend any of the woolly jumper, sandals and socks wearing liberals that seem to be packed into the Bishops Conference‘s committee rooms then the Catholic Church could find itself in dire straits.
I heard a shocking phrase a couple of days ago, “he’s too holy to be a priest”, is that the logic that dictates within the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales???
It would only take one modernist Pope who doesn’t understand the immutability of Catholic doctrine (something I’ve wondered about Vinny from time to time) and Papal infallibility could be sorely tested.
So what is the answer? well John Henry Newman was elevated straight to Cardinal, can’t anyone else in England be found? Surely we must be able to find a more glorious prince than Vinny? This is the land that produced St Thomas à Becket after all, are we to be verily stuck with this most painfully inevitable promotion from within?
“What about loyalty to your better’s?” I imagine the people who don’t read my blog saying…
Well I would like to see some from our bishops first, give example to their flock, show how they eagerly emulate at the altar possibly the foremost thinker on the liturgy in Christendom, Pope Benedict the 16th.
I would like to see loyalty to the magisterium, that when the Church has taught infallibly about issues it is not snickered at by our bishops on live TV like naughty schoolboys at the back of class. Instead the phrase “Rome has spoken, the matter is settled!” should heartily sound forth!
I would like to see Latin and Gregorian chant specifically returned to pride of place in the liturgy as was stipulated in, shock horror, the documents of Vatican 2!
Finally most of all I’d like our Bishops to view obedience to Rome, as something more than just not being disobedient (something which it seems some can barely manage) but actively and eagerly following the wishes and anticipating the desires of the holy father. We are Roman Catholics after all!
Give us someone we can be proud of and we will follow them through fire!