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Vatican Scaffolds

Monsignor Scicluna has either given a sort of informal interview, or either imprudently spoken in front of a microphone he thought was switched off (there's a delightful episode of “Yes, Prime Minister” concerning such events; but Gordon Brown's “bigoted woman” incident also comes to mind), and has said thePontiff Emeritus chose to decapitate himself in order to get rid in one fell swoop of the many who also needed to be, erm, decapitated.

Monsignor's utterances are clearly evocative of glorious episodes of the past: the battle of Alesia, where Caesar's soldiers recurred to the unusual step of committing collective suicide, thus destroying Gaul rebels twenty times their number; or the battle of Lepanto, where the audacious decision to scuttle the Christian fleet inflicted a mortal blow to the Ottomans. The unforgettable self-decapitation of St. Pius the Tenth in order to uproot the terrible heresy of Modernism is, I am sure, also in every reader's mind.

In this case, though, there appears to be a small problem Monsignor Scicluna might not have, in his spontaneous utterances, adequately considered: the Pontiff Emeritus neglected to say who are those meant to be decapitated with him. This might have the unintended consequence that not one of them finds his head permanently separated from his neck, of course with the exception of the Pontiff. In fact, the audacious move leaves the Cardinals in the unusual position of not knowing who should be picked as executioner, with the concrete risk they pick one of those who should be executed instead. Boldly, the Pontiff Emeritus chose to get rid of himself, without getting rid of those he meant to have executed.

Truly, what a difference with Alesia, Lepanto, and St. Pius X!

Mundabor

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