I fly to Chicago this morning, just as the heavens look like they are going to dump flood-worthy quantities of rain on the UK AGAIN for the umpteenth time this summer. It's 99 degrees in Chicago today - a figure that can only decently be referred to in relation to cricket or ice-cream. Bring on the sun cream. I'm not looking forward to being away from the family, but I am looking forward to some unfettered thinking time: thinking time about research but also about the extraordinary events of the spring and early summer which I have blogged about here.
As I write, the dust is still settling after the appointment of the new head of the CDF, Archbishop Gerhard Mueller. Let's dispense with the niceties. First, we should all pray for any man who has such responsibilities. Second, I am reluctant to come to any sweeping generalisations about the man since all we have seen on Rorate Caeli and elsewhere are short extracts from his works. Lastly, let him be judged on what he does at the CDF; not on what people fear he might do.
As for me, I am utterly horrified. Utterly horrified. There could be an argument and discussion about various points of Mueller's theology that have been highlighted on other sites, but one struck me as crucial and central. Thus, I would like to know who has 'misunderstood' the Eucharist because we refer to it as the Body and Blood of Christ. Some ancient Romans perhaps? Someone looking to create a numbskulled caricature? Yes to both. Nobody else really. I'm not familiar with academic theologians writing in German, so it is just possible that one of Mueller's stupider colleagues thought he was on safe ground denouncing the use of such language.
Anyway, as Scripture says: put not thy trust in princes. The hierarchy are not our favourite sports team or our hope and our salvation. As a bishop, Archbishop Mueller has my respect. As a theologian, he would quite properly reject any criticism which was not based on a proper scrutiny of what he has said when put in context. But as a red-blooded Catholic man, I would happily tell my brother Gerhard he's a fat head if he thinks referring to the Body of Christ is ill advised. And then I would make him say the Divine Praises a hundred times under duress!
Utterly horrified. But then what's new? Put not thy trust in princes.