After some very tart (and well-chosen) words for the pope, Michael Brendan Dougherty unburdens his own soul:
On the other hand, I’m almost jealous of the pope and could myself use an unguarded moment with an atheist confidante. Maybe it’s the never-ending end of winter, but I’m much more tempted to deny the joys of the blessed than the reality that human souls may be damned to eternal torment. This has been the worst Lent since I came back to the Church in my college years. At Mass, I do little more than wrestle with my squirming children. The great music and great silences of the liturgy are all around me, but their consolations rarely penetrate my consciousness.
The bell rings. My knee bends. But the mind has long since drifted away, taken up with preparations for the weekly battle, with the striving for the successes and satisfactions of middle age, and the achievement of some security for my children. To that end, I’m writing a book and filing several columns a week. Baseball season has started, which means the return of my seven-day-a-week morning newsletter, The Slurve. Season six. Periodically, I check Twitter to see if some social-media outrage typhoon has fallen on my reputation and ruined us. (Not yet!) My son also refuses to sleep through the night. More often than not, every single member of my household wakes up in the morning in a bed or on a couch they did not intend to sleep in that night.
So lately, my relationship to the faith is more aspirational. It would be nice to get back to regularly contemplating life’s mysteries, and slowly turning myself toward the love without which man is nothing, wouldn’t it?
* * * * *
Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.
(Philip K. Dick)
The waters are out and no human force can turn them back, but I do not see why as we go with the stream we need sing Hallelujah to the river god.
(Sir James Fitzjames Stephen)