Friday, September 25, 2020

Corona Jottings: Intermittent Speculations (#7)

The Donald seems, more or less, out of control. RBG dies, not able, unfortunately, to hang on till January. Today (or yesterday) Trump is heckled in the politist way, “Vote Him Out,” by bystanders waiting to pay homage to Ginsberg’s coffin and corpse. The Prez was bemasked, at least, offering up that small bit of respect. But that won’t last long. We will learn Saturday if our local girl, ACB – couldn’t get the alphabet right there – is truly the nominee for the Supreme Court, though her house’s lawn is outfitted with the newest 21st century electronic gear and a guy in a black car watching. It made me wonder if other circuit court judges get that sort of treatment, protection, or just likely SC nominees. Trump, to stoop to cliche, is the most appropriate bull in a china shop, if anyone thinks, or still thinks, of the White House and the Presidency as a china shop. But it turns out that the Presidency is: norms more easily broken than most would have thought. American Carnage, Trump’s Inaugural address’s title, keeps proving itself prophetic, with The Donald causing the most carnage. These days Trump continues to do his Mussolini imitation, chin up, bombast forward. The spoiled child won’t leave the house, stamping his foot and anything else he can find to stomp. Somehow my mind turns to the crucifixion – it’s probably Amy Semple McPherson’s fault, or her new incarnation, Amy Coney Barrett (why couldn’t she have hyphenated her married name as Amy Barrett-Coney, then I would have had ABC, one two three, you and me, etc.? Oh, I forgot, the People of Praise.) Another morbid spectacle ahead, the Golgotha of Senate confirmation. Speaking of the People of Praise, I know it well, or well enough, since they lived, modestly, in the neighborhood some time ago, where I owned my first house in South Bend. A few modest one story houses, they. South Bend was, is, a magnet for all sorts of extreme Catholic cults. A large Opus Dei house was down the block from my lesser dwelling. Tell it to that other dead, now long dead, Supreme Court justice, or the sitting AG. I arrived to teach at Notre Dame in 1981. People of Praise had started there about ten years earlier, given that its founder, or cofounder, was a PhD candidate in the theology department. He had published a book in 1969 called Catholic Pentecostals. When I moved into South Bend People of Praise seemed harmless enough. I knew the Catholic Left well, not so much the Catholic Right, though it took off right at the same time the CL peaked. The Harrisburg trial did sully the Catholic Left’s reputation and, in a way, mobilized the right. The Berrigan brothers had always been a thorn in the side, so to speak, of devout Catholics. In South Bend the most prominent feature of the People of Praise was their school, the Trinity School at Greenlawn (however modest the professants are, they do lean toward highfalutin titles), housed in a former robber baron’s mansion and grounds. It came about the same year I started teaching at ND. It taught 6-12 grades and I toured it some years later when my son was about to enter highschool. That’s another story. Speaking of titles, PoP have scuttled some of their original vocabulary. I was sorry to see “handmaiden” go. Blame Margaret Atwood. They have the common cult interconnected relationships, used to knit followers together and the women members (ACB!) were given, or assigned, handmaidens as, let’s say, watchdogs. Given PoP’s sanctities, if you put them on one end of the smallish cult spectrum, the religious end – forget the Mormons – the other end would have something like Nxivm perched there. American culture was is, riddled, with such groups. One could even make the case that it was founded by them. Or, at least, joining became and remains an American virtue. Mayor Pete has put South Bend on the political map and now Amy the judge may set the bar for lawyers. She does have somewhat local competition, insofar as the Chief Justice is from down the road, and went to a small school, a basketball power, La Lumiere, another Catholic school. Roberts, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Sonia Sotomayor, and Brett Kavanaugh are all Catholic. And, one associate justice, Neil Gorsuch, appointed by Trump, was raised Catholic, but in his high falutin’ way became Episcopalian, even though he attended the same tony Jesuit high school that Kavanaugh did. More civilized, I suppose. Now there looms Amy, who knows how to talk in tongues, which should help in a few cases to come. She would make the number of Catholics, according to my count, 6 and a half – the half being Gorsuch. This may or may not seem excessive to some people. I have written about this, all the Court Catholics, etc., in one of my books, opining, as the annoying say, that the right wing finds Catholics more Court friendly than wild-eyed, right-wing Protestants. Maybe. So, we’ll see Saturday. I could be wrong. There’s still that Cuban-American-Floridian (Barbara Lagoa) in the running. Isn’t she Catholic? Doesn’t she have blonde hair highlights (dyed?)? The Donald likes blondes. Doesn’t he need to win Florida? But isn’t the Cuban vote already in his pocket? The old, yes, but perhaps not the young. And if South Bend’s Amy gets it, will they take offense?


  1. I am going to love the endless talking and writing about the Catholic Church... far more interesting than talking about the Ukraine or how much money did DT pay in taxes... most people will say good for him if found a way to not pay taxes... he's given Americans a wonderful crash course on how good bankruptcy really is... something the credit card companies don't like to get out... but the Catholic Church is endlessly fascinating...