Off to Britain!

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pembrokeshire.jpgLMH.jpgI’m off to Britain for a few days hiking around Pembrokeshire (left) and a workshop at Lady Margaret Hall (right) on “Tradition and Its Discontents: Ruptures in the Abrahamic Religions.”

Speaking of such ruptures, we can now look for great things out of Philadelphia, thanks to the appointment of Charles Chaput, foremost of the fighting culture warrior archbishops, to replace the tarnished Justin Rigali. Rocco, whose servility in the pursuit of hierarchical access has gone far beyond self-caricature, believes this to be a veritable messianic moment of transformation for his native archdiocese. To me, it would seem to presage the second coming of Cardinal Dennis Dougherty, who ran the diocese from 1918 to 1951 and was the foremost culture warrior of his day. Indeed, the ban Dougherty declared on Hollywood films via his local Legion of Decency in the 1930s remained in effect until the day he died.

“We always saw Philadelphia as kind of the paradigm for what it meant to be a Catholic in this country,” Chaput told NCR’s John Allen in an interview vouchsafed to that trusted journalist a week ago. Instead of going after movies, though, Chaput’s job will be to keep the rising tide of same sex marriage–“the issue of our time,” he called it–on the other side of the Delaware.

Michael Sean Winters has a terrific reaction piece to the appointment, and John Gehring’s effort over at Faith in Public Life isn’t too shabby either. For gay and lesbian Catholics in Philly, I’m afraid it’s going to be Charlie’s way or the highway–Charlie’s way being the closet. Discontents indeed! See you in a couple of weeks.