I'm one of those trads whose serotonin levels do not elevate reading the current news about the current pontificate. They decline, worse than one of those cloudy, sopping wet, dreary days. If you need your critical Catholic news fix, I understand. Whatever keeps the mind in this modern mosh pit afloat.
As usual, hard-core trad bloggers sound the alarm, like my trad blogger colleague out of Chicago, Mahounds Paradise, while Fr. Z practice's spin control (scroll down). Oakes Spalding in Chicago is circulating the story out of Rome that apparently Benedict XVI has endorsed in writing the "theology of Pope Francis." Fr. Z goes so far as to suggest the letter doesn't sound like Ratzinger, while commenting on his travels and food adventures.
I don't know. Either A) someone in Rome has forged the retired pope's signature, or B) BXVI is tacitly opposing orthodox reactions to Francis, in favor of Francis' positions. I don't see a choice C, using simple logic. It's enough to make me eat two Quest Bars, instead of my daily one, now going ultra low carb to shed weight.
Either some crooked journalists are gas-lighting BXVI to see how he would react to a falsified story, or BXVI is gas-lighting us trads in our criticisms of the sitting pontiff. The times we live in.
That said, here are 10 Things I'd Rather Be Doing than Reading about Benedict XVI apparently endorsing the "Theology of Pope Francis."
1. Eating fish heads. I have learned to love fried Mackerel, and unlike most I love to eat the head. Crispy, juicy, fatty eyeballs, savory. mmm. Anything better than ecclesiastical gas-lighting. Yes sir.
2. Reading one of those pedantically long, encyclicals of John Paul II. Man, I know he was the pope, but I recall an FSSP priest saying that all the papal writings of JP2 combined are greater in volume than all the combined writings of all past popes. While the conciliar popes' teachings in certain aspects at least materially depart from that of the pre-conciliar popes, we have a new paradigm shift under the current pope. Which comparatively makes JP2 look like a Pius XII, with just a deeper level of rupture from past pontificates.
3. Playing Pacman. Downloaded an app lately which takes me back to the good-old-days of my Gen-X youth. Relaxing, and I love the musical tune of the game.
4. Gazing at Oklahoma woods in the winter. The kind that is almost entirely deciduous. Utterly brown and plain, but with an ultra-simple beauty that requires a spiritual eye to appreciate. The kind of beauty the Clear Creek monks really love, with their John Senior poetic view of reality. Fr. Bethel, OSB wrote about that HERE.
5. Getting a diet Pepsi from Quicktrip. I don't know about you, but if you live in Eastern Oklahoma, you must have some sense of the environment of your typical urban Q-trip. Unruly, chaotic, uncouth, often. But I love diet Pepsi, slim jims, and wasabi almonds. mmm. Beats checking into Canon 212 several times a day (which I do for about 10 seconds, when I check the news when I wake up in the morning).
6. Driving in the right lane of the expressway, driving across Tulsa. Got to remind myself to stay only in the middle lane. That right lane seems just about as dangerous as a mine-covered road in Afganistan. But the fact I've avoided dozens of near collisions from moronic drivers entering the highway, who act like they have the right of way, is a testimony to God's presence, and that of my guardian angel. I'd say.
7. Smoking swisher sweet 99 cent cigars, or even drinking Kentucky Deluxe "whiskey." As cheap as it gets, when my wallet is thin. Both with a bit of toxic aftertaste, but infinitely more life-giving than Francis-watching. To me.
8. Eating balut. Click on the link. It's really not as bad as it looks!
9. Going to the Maronite rite in Tulsa. The most modernized Eastern rite of the Church, but much more traditional and reverent than your typical novus ordo. We attend now and then, perhaps again soon. The priest seems tradition-minded and very orthodox.
10. Sitting on the toilet, reading a book of jokes. I read one joke every "visit" to the toilet, and I'm about half way through! A laugh-and-relief is a good counter-balance to internet church controversy.