At Charlotte Was Both, Amy Welborn praised an academic article by Jennifer Scheper Hughes, which looked at reforms in the Mexican Diocese of Cuernavaca in the 1950s. The bishop renovated the cathedral, removing saints’ images – which he said were a distraction from the Eucharist – and replacing the old crucifix with a modern one: as Hughes describes it, “head raised, eyes open, arms thrown out in a gesture of welcome and blessing”.
According to popular memory, “in the wake of the renovations a group of lay Catholics forcefully occupied the cathedral, blockading the bishop’s access to his own seat for eight days in protest.”
Another clash was over the mayordomías, local lay associations, which the bishop disliked and tried to replace with “ecclesial base communities”. According to Hughes, “Some Latin American bishops utilised ecclesial base communities (CEBs) as part of a deliberate strategy to disrupt the power of mayordomías. As a mode for organised parish life, the CEBs were generally more easily subject to clerical and episcopal oversight.”
There is, Welborn commented, a “balance” in popular piety between grassroots experience and top-down authority. But it shows we should be “wary when people in authority tell you that they’re taking action so you’ll have more rights”.
Remembering Roger Scruton
At Ex Umbris et Imaginibus, Fr John Hogan praised the philosopher Sir Roger Scruton, who died on Sunday at the age of 75. He was, Fr Hogan wrote, “a man orientated towards the transcendent, and this made him unusual among many modern philosophers whose intellectual reach is often limited to the individual and society.
“As you would expect, he had many enemies – his opinions and annoying habit of asking pointed questions about modern life and ideologies did not endear him to the establishment or an academe dominated by the Left.”
He also helped dissidents behind the Iron Curtain in the 1980s “travelling there to support underground educational initiatives”. His legacy will be “a rich one”, Fr Hogan wrote.
And the tributes to Scruton have shown that “For many his passing is not merely the loss of an eminent philosopher, but rather the loss of a loving friend, a kind gentleman.”
Why the McCarrick report may be delayed
This year, the Vatican will release its report into the career of the disgraced ex-cardinal Theodore McCarrick. But the report may be delayed, wrote JD Flynn at the Catholic News Agency. The state of New York, Flynn wrote, is currently allowing “lawsuits related to sexual abuse that fall beyond the normal statute of limitations”.
If the report could lead to litigation, a New York bishop might privately “ask that the McCarrick report be delayed” until the litigation window closes in August.
In any case, Flynn added, the report may not tell the whole story. “Politics, horse-trading, and the reflexive Vatican tendency not to stir up trouble will doubtless be factors in negotiations over the report.”
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