I am surprised how much heat I am taking from correspondents for the little joke from Auden I planted in yesterday’s Idlepost. In a couple of cases, I seem even to have incited an anti-Semitic upswell, of the sort that makes me pleased that I no longer have a combox. New Testament quotes were offered (Peter in Acts, chapter 3, for instance; Paul in I Thessalonians 2) by way of insisting that “the Jews killed Christ,” as if this were an article in the Creed.

It is a happy day, when I get to play the liberal.

My guess is the humour takes it over the top, for these people who have it in their power to make me cringe at being a Christian. Worse, the worst offender announced himself a Traditional Catholic, with breathtaking pomp. He applied his full weight to my lightness.

I have encountered this attitude before in my co-religionists, especially for some reason in women named Janice. In my experience of being a Roman, these last 135 months, I have found that the self-appointed guardians of our faith can be very clear on the need for Catholic apologists to match the standard of tedium established by our secular opponents. It is hardly the first time I have been excoriated for wit, or some related misdeed. (A Frenchman reminds that witch trials are an American convention.)

But I will not be called a “baby Catholic” again! … Not when I am so nearly a “Catholic adolescent.”

Recently a seasoned ecclesiastical observer recounted some of his experiences, with the thicker sort of bricks. He was trying to explain, for my benefit as a pauper, why the paid, Catholic speaking circuit consists mostly of heretics. This is because orthodoxy scares people: bishops especially.

“Yet it isn’t heresy they want, per se,” he said (or I paraphrase). “Rather, it is safety. And the only guarantee of that is to have speakers not merely ignorant of the faith they are exploiting, but earnestly leaden, dismal, and dull.”