Sunlight on the vines

I should add, however, that the gentle reader not inclined to read the thing (Laudato si’) is in error. Moreover, he should have read it first, before considering my own prattle on the topic, or that of anyone else. But I haven’t the power to enforce good habits. My own attempt to “read it with an open mind” led where you saw (here I am replying to several outraged readers). I am, as you say, not good at deference, and very quick to respond to what I take for an overlay of dated Argentine populism on the doctrines of Holy Church. But as I did actually mention, the latter is not missing, and to be fair there are several places where Church teaching is interpreted and applied with true grace against post-modernist idiocies such as “gender theory,” and the very scientism that produced the “global warming” nonsense that is elsewhere bought into. The document has surely been checked for accuracy on many fine theological points.

The Holy Father explicitly called for debate, on means to the end of a cleaner and more habitable planet; on a more humane social order living in harmony with it. … Ready, aye, ready; and far more to say.

Left Catholics whose approach is, “shut up and listen,” would have a better argument had they shown any disposition to shut up and listen to the encyclicals of Benedict XVI, or Saint John Paul II, or the Humanae Vitae of Paul VI, none of which are contradicted in Laudato si’. Deference to popes cannot be restricted to selective quotes from the one currently in office. (And by the way, where does gentle reader stand on the Borgias?)

The progressive media cherry-pick the more inflammatory progressive lines, and do not even condescend to report Pope Francis’s doctrinal defences, when they are equally eloquent, or more so. “Shut up and listen” should apply to those passages, too.


Woke early this morning from a most extraordinary dream. It was still morning dusk, no beam of sun had yet struck the western windows; yet it seemed I had been bathed in sunlight. The dream was memory, of a house in Edith Street, Georgetown, Ontario, where some part of my childhood was lived. Sour green labrusca grapes (“fox grapes”) grew at the rear of the backyard, the vines weaving through a lattice fence; there was a giant sprig of elm to one side (four thick trunks), and caterpillar-dropping maple to the other. There was nothing more except a glaze of happy memories associated with that scene, and an uncanny sense of their significance.

One rises with the will, “I must go there again,” only to realize — with the sadness of this fallen world — that one can’t go there again. By now it is a different place; fifty years have changed everything. The people associated with that moment — my parents, my aunt visiting from Cape Breton, my little dancing sister, other Edith Street children, all somehow came into it — have grown up or passed on. The scene I had “witnessed” embraced them, in this dream of sunlight on the vines.

Miracles, it is known, are not reproducible.

Here I want to emphasize again the transience of all the beauty of this world. We long for Paradise; glimpses we have had, but we cannot return to them. They were seen in this world, but only in the moment God showed them to us. Our longing for Paradise cannot rest here.