"You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you odd." ~Flannery O'Connor

Saturday, April 01, 2006

A hearty "Vaffanculo!"

Right now, my two favorite Catholics (besides the Pope, of course) are SCOTUS Justice Antonin Scalia (left, gesturing in a manner I'll get to in a moment) and Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz of Lincoln, Nebraska. Within the past week, both have in effect said "Vaffanculo!" to their critics, which is Sicilian for a phrase everybody on earth (well, almost everybody; it begins with 'F') understands very well.

The Boston Herald describes the occasion and context of Scalia's gesture very well. It is a gesture that usually accompanies the utterance of "Vaffanculo!" Nobody who's grown up in an Italian-American neighborhood, as I did, needs any introduction to this. I love the fact that Scalia did it with great gusto and humor while emerging from Sunday Mass. But that's only the latest reason why he's my favorite lay Catholic at the moment. The main reason, which is why I welcome the latest one, is that he's a jurist who thoroughly understands natural law and why it is the basis of this republic's moral legitimacy. He has been joined on the bench lately by two fellow Catholics, John Roberts and Samuel Alito. The former's moral views are definitely pro-life; for good reasons, he's been too cagey so far to let on what he'd like to do about Roe v Wade. As for Alito, his professional nickname is 'Scalito'. Enough said. Everybody who cares knows that all they need is one more vote to start the counter-revolution. Oremus.

Then there's the doughty bishop, who has just defied the USCCB-appointed National Review Board's attempt to force him to use sex-abuse-education materials that he deems morally inappropriate and in any case mistargeted. Here's his statement:

Some woman named Patricia O'Donnell Ewers, who is the Chair of something
called "A National Review Board for the Protection of Children and Young People", has said that her Board "calls for strong fraternal correction of the Diocese of Lincoln." The Diocese of Lincoln has nothing to be corrected for, since the Diocese of Lincoln is and has always been in full compliance with all laws of the Catholic Church and with all civil laws. Furthermore, Ewers and her Board have no authority in the Catholic Church and the Diocese of Lincoln does not recognize them as having any significance.

It is well known that some of the members of Ewers' Board are ardent advocates of partial birth abortion, other abortions, human cloning, and other moral errors. It is understandable then how such persons could dislike the Diocese of Lincoln, which upholds the moral teaching of the Catholic Church.

The words attributed to Ewers seem to confirm the suspicion that the members of her Board are unfamiliar with Catholic teachings, Catholic ecclesiology, and even the basic rudiments of the Catholic Catechism. Rather than concerning themselves with the Diocese of Lincoln about which they appear completely ignorant, Ewers and her colleagues would occupy themselves in a better way by learning something about the Catholic religion and the traditions and doctrines and laws of the Catholic Church.

The Diocese of Lincoln does not see any reason for the existence of Ewers and her organization.

I culled the statement from here, where you can also read some of the comments people have made.

Now I will be among the first to admit that both Scalia and Bruskewitz have been a tad excessive. But all the same, it's the right sort of excess—just the sort needed in a time and climate when the other side grants itself license for far greater excess. (If you don't believe me about that greater license, just read what's said on secular-liberal and liberal-Catholic sites about the President of the United States and the Supreme Pontiff of the Catholic Church.) My heroes du jour have issued the plain talk, and gesturing, that is occasionally needed. Bravo!

Let us all pray for such courage as well as praise it.
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