Baseball91's Weblog

June 11, 2008


Over the past two weeks, my attention has been focused on things that move us in daily life.  My German made car was not working.  This car made in Bavaria had a cooling fan, necessary in a car that might otherwise overheat, and this fan was not always shutting down.  It took a while to diagnose what was wearing down the battery. 


I live in a metropolitan area that last summer had a major bridge collapse over the Mississippi River.  Since the time of the bridge collapse, the Minnesota Department of Transportation has been doing a lot more bridge inspections.  They found another gusset plate issue in Winona a few days ago.  Suddenly another bridge was not moving the local populace.  The modern human gives little thought to crossing bridges until the bridge no was no longer there to move the locals, where the metric intervals to Wisconsin were turned into extra miles to commute. 


I have been focused this spring on the local newspaper.  I come from a family where my father’s first job was that of a journalist.  Three of his five children had gone to college, majoring in journalism.  And suddenly like never before, we were all looking at another kind of gusset plates to make sure the newspaper in town was stationary and kept on unifying the community, moving us to a destination. 


In March I had received a book, Vanishing Ireland. There was a concern in Europe about a vanishing world, as Europeans struggled to live in a secular world with their Christian past. Vanishing Ireland was not a book so much about vanishing Catholics in Ireland as a vanishing way of life.  The Catholics were still there.  But the meaning and purpose of a Catholic identity in the vanishing world of Europe Union was a concern to clerical leaders.  Vanishing Christianity, whatever the denomination, was faced with a shortage of clergy for the next generation.  It had happened and was continuing to happen.  But why?


Mortar was the thing that held a building together.  Newspapers, churches did the same thing for the identity of a community.  Whereas gusset plates had a hard time in these parts holding the weight on an increased number of cars and the increased weight of the things that things that moved us like SUVs, mortar still did its job with buildings. 


During World War II, they drank “ersatz coffee” in Europe, in Italy.  It was not the real deal.  In the new millennium I have gotten a sense that the current Popes have carried with them a sense of “ersatz infallibility,” so that even routine administration seems like an exercise of infallibility.  That was also mentioned in a speech yesterday delivered by outgoing president of the Catholic Theological Society of America, Margaret O’Gara. 


I was hopeful that issues of differences in the Christian world between papal primacy and papal infallibility would give way to the wisdom of a theologian who had spent too much of his life dwelling over the gusset plates that most people did not want to have to worry about.  Most of us just wanted church and theology to be the thing that moves us in daily life, that we might go about our business.  For Christians, the mortar of Christian identity was in the message of Jesus Christ that God is love.  The lesson here over the past few months was that it was the bridge and not the parts that united humanity in our struggle, and brought us ALL together. 


Maybe when you were pope in the remnants of what had been the Papal States, you were still caught up in temporal matters and power struggles.  Divide and conquer.  It had never been so much the dogma coming forth from Vatican City as the bridge carrying us to God that people cared about.  It has been a long time that the real world had cared about the dogma.


There is a concern here in Minnesota about the inter-structure and our bridges, with the cost to maintain them.  The problems in Vatican City would seem to be about the same.  What would it mean in 30 years this Catholic identity unless the spotlight was put on what needed to be done on another kind of inner structure which would have an affect on Catholics for the generations to come.


1 Comment »

  1. Comment by baseball91 — September 12, 2014 @ 12:50 PM | Reply

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