Condemnation, the wrath of God, patterns of personal holiness—for mainliners, meaning Methodists, Presbyterians, Episcopalians, Lutherans, Congregationalists, and the like, such stuff has the penetrating odor of mothballs and cedar chests. Sweet tolerance and gentle affirmation are the hallmarks of today’s mainliners.
On December 9, 2008, as I read through the federal criminal complaint against the latest Illinois governor to be indicted for the merest portion of his crimes, I could not help but feel uneasy. Sure, it was great fun to imagine Governor Hot Rod sweating it out in his holding cell, awaiting arraignment later in the day. Even the most casual observer of Illinois politics knew that Milorad Blagojevich, our S.O.B., had to be corrupt. After all, you don’t get elected governor of Illinois as a reformer if you actually are one.
A review of Valkyrie (produced and distributed by United Artists; directed by Bryan Singer; screenplay by Christopher McQuarrie) and Slumdog Millionaire (produced by Celador Films; directed by Danny Boyle; screenplay by Simon Beaufoy; from Vikas Swarup’s novel; distributed by Fox Searchlight Pictures).
January 25 of this year marked the 50th anniversary of the surprise announcement of Pope John XXIII that he intended to convoke a general council. From 1959 to 1962, the soon-to-be-jettisoned constitutions and decrees that would have been discussed were composed by preparatory committees of eminent Roman theologians. Among these is one document that is remarkable for its keen prescience and consequent pastoral anxiety. It never even made it to the floor of the council.