|Coming soon to the Vatican?
While Francis is preaching simplicity of life and evangelical poverty, both by word and example, his previous Cardinal Secretary of State is constructing his own 'Trump Towers' right next door to the hostel where the Pope lives.
By the year 800 the Pope and the Holy Roman emperor were so allied with one another that Charlemagne came to Rome to be crowned by him in St Peter's. But it was Charlemagne who was calling the shots. By then what Judith Herrin calls the "purely Latin and clerical culture of the West" [ref], of which Gregory VII had been the harbinger, was so deeply established that it had overthrown the legacy of the Upper Room at Pentecost.
If I insulted Cardinals like that I'd expect to come in from some pretty shart criticism. I'm not a particular partizan of Cardinal Bertone, but there are ways of making one's point. Loftus is not giving us a good example of how to obey Canon 212 sec. 3, which tells us that the laity have
"the right and even at times the duty to manifest to the sacred pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church and to make their opinion known to the rest of the Christian faithful, without prejudice to the integrity of faith and morals, with reverence toward their pastors, and attentive to common advantage and the dignity of persons."
But then again if I were Cardinal Bertone I wouldn't be too worried. Loftus reveals himself to be a man who thinks that Pope Gregory VII (1073-1085) was the harbinger of a situation well-established in the year 800. How did he manage that, Basil? With a time-machine? Or does he not know what 'harbinger' means?
Oh and it's pretty nonsensical to call Charlemagne a Holy Roman Emperor (that formula came into use many centuries later), but utterly nonsensical to call him that before his coronation.
Oh and - but never mind. Let's just say that Loftus' grip on history is as impressive as his grip on theology.
Just for fun, here's some pomp, in honour of a friend of another Pope Gregory, the Great, namely St Augustine of Canterbury.
|Bishop Schneider at St Augustine's, Ramsgate