Week in Review

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Highlights from the week online

‘Call off the World Meeting of Families’
Robert Royal, writing at The Catholic Thing, said the Church ought to cancel the World Meeting of Families in Dublin next week and instead “lead a two-day procession of public penitence” for the decades-long abuse crisis. “The Church is heading into yet another dark time,” he wrote, referring not only to the McCarrick scandal but also to the storm surrounding cardinals in Chile. There will, he predicted, be a “wave of charges and investigations in many places, including the Vatican”. Divisions in the Church will be unhelpful. “We need swift, broad, deep action, and support for the Pope in any good steps he takes,” he wrote.

“There’s a sharp reckoning coming now,” he concluded. “It’s reckless to ignore it.”

How the Church can avoid a mob mentality
Fr Benedict Kiely at the National Review said that American priests had experienced a “summer of shame” comparable to the 2002 abuse crisis. To regain credibility, and to avoid a mob mentality that emerges in times of crisis, bishops need to do some soul-searching, he argued.

For a start they might consider dropping the titles of Your Excellency, My Lord and His Eminence. “If your title is that of a medieval duke,” Fr Kiely said, “it is unsurprising that some actually behave like one.”

The heart of the problem, he argued, was that bishops had become “less successors of the Apostles and more like senior management at a large bank”, chosen for being “efficient lower-level managers”. He said that faithful Catholics wanted their bishops “to be real spiritual fathers, more at home in the confessional or before the altar than in the boardroom or the banquet hall”, and fearless in proclaiming Church teaching.

“The Church does not need a tearing down by the mob,” Fr Kiely wrote. “It needs a building up by saints.”

Meet the ‘new ultramontanists’
Brian Flanagan compared prominent conservative voices in the Church today with the ultramontanist leaders of the 19th century. While the two groups are diverse and difficult to categorise, the parallels between them were striking, he argued.

In both periods “it was journalists who promoted these views with the most energy and effectivenesss”. Many of the key figures were also converts. And for both groups, he claimed, “the possibility of the Church changing is the monster hiding under the bed”. (The big difference, he said, is that today’s “ultramontanists” are not admirers of the Pope.)

The original ultramontanist movement, he argued, “made the modern papacy that we know today”. It was “youthful and successful, encouraged by the first celebrity pope, Pope Pius IX, and culminated in the definitions of papal primacy and infallibility of the First Vatican Council”. Its “youthful populism”, Flanagan suggested, “warns us against dismissing similar movements today”.

“It was [Louis] Veuillot and [William George] Ward who won the day through their skilful use of media,” he wrote, “not the … theological elites who argued with them in theological journals.”


✣ Sting has said he loved singing the traditional Latin Mass as a boy and that it still influences his music. The former Police frontman was speaking to the American National Catholic Register a few days ahead of meeting Pope Francis.He said: “I was an altar boy and I learned the Latin Mass but I loved plainsong, I loved Gregorian chant, sung Mass. I still think I carry some of those cadences in my composition when I compose.” He said the Church’s music and liturgy “fed this artistic soul”. Citing “Pascal’s wager”, he also said he would “probably seek out the sacraments” at the end of his life. The singer was in Rome for the premiere of a film for which he had composed a Dies Irae. The film, produced in collaboration with the Vatican Museums, was about the making of Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel frescoes. (see Arts Essay)

✣ Air conditioning is coming to the Vatican Museums. Barbara Jatta, the museums’ director, told Crux that her staff were working hard to expand “climate control” beyond the Sistine Chapel, starting off with the Borgia apartments and the Raphael rooms. She also said she was getting used to the scale of her responsibilities as head of the world’s fourth-most visited museum. “I’m less scared than I was 18 months ago … I’m sleeping at night.”

The week in quotations

You are the shepherds of the Church. If you do not act, evil will go unchecked
A letter to US bishops from young Catholics
First Things

He’s driving a Skoda
Norah Casey, a papal visit fundraiser, on the Pope’s transport in Ireland
RTÉ Radio One

A flood of men and women of the Church wrote to me. Even priests and bishops
Matteo Salvini on his Catholic supporters
La Bussola Quotidiana

We plead with the [world] not to neglect Ukraine
Archbishop Shevchuk
Address to Knights of Columbus

Statistic of the week

300
Number of priests named in a grand jury report to be released in Pennsylvania this week
State’s attorney general