May 1st, 2005

Loyola Faculty Portrait

Theological Notebook/Personal: Whole Lotta Nothin'...

Now that the papal rush is over, there's not a whole lot going on here. I'm curled up for the evening reading a classmates' paper on "Is There a Supernatural Existential in the Universe?: A Comparison of Lonergan and Rahner on the Natural Desire to See God." I forgot to call my Mom again for the fourth day (at least) in a row. (Sorry, Mom.) And I think I'm going to have a bad night, health-wise.

Not a whole lot going on. So. What to do? Perhaps I'll just fast-forward half a century and just start writing that Live Journal. I imagine it will be entirely devoted to the quality of my bowel movements; an elderly male conversation topic/fixation regarding which I have a considerable head start. So how 'bout it? All Bowel Movements, All The Time?

I think I'll go back to reading the essay. 'Night, all. Just feelin' a little testy, I guess....
Loyola Faculty Portrait

Theological Notebook: St. Malachy Reports THE END OF THE WORLD

I just got an email from a friend of mine, who shall remain nameless because the following is not really directed at him. It actually touches on a matter mentioned elsewhere in this journal, but I thought I'd put it on the front page, now. First, the email (edited to protect the innocent):

check this out...this is from some news on AOL:

Some say Pope Benedict XVI fits the doomsday prophecy of a 12th-century Irish cleric, and that only one more pope will serve before Judgment Day. According to believers, St. Malachy had a vision of the 112 remaining popes -- Pope Benedict would be No. 111 on the list. Are you familiar with the predictions of St. Malachy, and do you believe the prophecy?

And my grumpy response, also slightly edited:

Yes, I'm familiar with the thingie, although I've not looked at all to see whether they were written in the 12th century or 12 weeks ago. Someone was asking me about this on my journal the other day, and I was dreading the weak connection that I instantly knew was going to be made as soon as I heard the name "Benedict" announced to the air.

But look: Jesus said no one will know the end--it'll come like a thief in the night, when you don't expect it, not when you're waiting up with a 12-gauge and the entire backfield of the FBI. Paul forbade people to waste their time speculating on such things. Despite these two comments by what some people would consider reasonable authorities on the Christian faith, it hasn't stopped a lot of people--mostly Americans--from turning this into a very profitable industry, full of "the-return-is-heralded-by-this-latest-sign" books, movies, novels, CDs and t-shirts. They've made a lot of money out of this, lots of churches spend all their time arguing about the different possible variations on the predictions and then split over their disagreements, and despite the rise of Israel, the year 2000, every possible (and impossible) name like Hitler, Stalin, Reagan, John Paul, and Hussein that could be pulled out of "666," and a full cast of other available anti-Christs, it still hasn't happened. But a lot of people have sweated themselves silly over it, and a lot of money has exchanged hands. I'm going to stand with Jesus and Paul and in their names say (again) to the world: you won't know when it's coming and I forbid you to try to figure it out. In the meantime, Jesus' real spiritual point is that we should be turned to God, doing good, and living like the end is in five minutes: it may be, as I come down the hall with a big rock in my hand because I'm grumpy at silly theology.