September 12, 2018

Reno in First Things

R.R. Reno in First Things senses the end of conservative accommodation to the longstanding attitude of “keep the church together at all costs by sweeping disagreements and corruption under any available rug".  Seems the McCarrick mess followed by the Vigano letter has been a permission slip for conservatives to stop kowtowing to the status quo, or to emperor-bishops wearing no robes.

It reminds me of the Trump nomination, how Republican primary voters finally got exhausted with the long project of trying to go along by getting along by buying into the Democrat premise that Republicans needed to do better on diversity, racial accord, political correctness.  Like how Romney could scarcely defend himself from charges he was involved in a war against women which later was “confirmed” by stray comment showing his dedication to the Democrat ideal of patronizing women and minorities by saying he had “binders full of women” on his short list for some office.

There comes a time when even conservationists no longer want to conserve the current environment. I thought Trump was a mistake but I began to marvel at a world in which a Republican president felt free enough to speak his mind with such candor (if limited truthfulness). It was a modest revelation and a guilty pleasure. Trump reminds me of the citizen legislator who isn’t there for a career and is wiling to be unpopular.

And I have to feel like Pope Francis didn't sign up for this when he was made pope some 5 years ago, that he'd have to deal with gay clerics engaging in clericalism, or more accurately fornication.  For the pope to be blindsided by Viagno is just movie-script-like drama that would be almost too unbelievable to make the celluloid. 

I’ve been reading the book Conspiracy about how Peter Thiel secretly kept his powder dry against Gawker for outing his being gay, and how over years of picking the time and place for battle ended up backing Hulk Hogan and bankrupting a malicious outfit.  While Viagno, unlike Thiel, went about it in a much more slipshod and emotional way, he too planted this bombshell such that it upstaged the papal visit to Ireland and elicited the famous “no comment” from the pontiff.  I imagined, rightly or wrongly, that the image cagey Francis was forced to do something difficult for him - to not retaliate verbally perhaps because he thought Viagno might have something and that he could get caught in a thicket.  Francis seems to have weathered it well from a PR standpoint since the press was on his side to begin with and the lack of comment seemed to make a non-issue, ginned up by angry conservatives.

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