Monday, February 23, 2009

Dolan takes Manhattan

Archbishop Tim Dolan will succeed Cardinal Egan in New York!

We were in Rome together for a few years, and a friend/classmate of ours occasionally sent him to this blog.

While Tim most certainly would not approve of much that I have said or done since my ordination, he is the kind of man who would never treat me with any less good will and respect than would he afford any other priest or lay person. Extremely likable and magnanimous, he is a startlingly good choice for New York and and anyone who meets him will have an easier time tolerating the evil B16 (Oops. That's the kind of inconvenient talk that might keep me from getting invited to dinner at St. Patrick's.)

While he will not say or do anything that would raise an eyebrow in Rome, Tim Dolan is sensible and compassionate and intelligent and will find the subtle routes to making the Catholic Church more inclusive. I do not know if he is gay or straight. I suspect he is celibate.

Tim, welcome to New York. Ed Petty would have been so proud. If there were cell phones in heaven, he'd have woken me up in the middle of the night with this great news.


Blogger SubtleKnife said...

That's the kind of inconvenient talk that might keep me from getting invited to dinner at St. Patrick's.

Well, maybe not too publicly...

11:39 AM  
Blogger The Neighbors Will Hear said...

The only Catholic priest I know about who isn't celibate is you. But I suppose the new Cardinal may be abstinent.

2:34 PM  
Blogger Father Tony of the Farmboyz said...

Dear TNWH,

I bet you've known a lot more. You just didn't know you were knowing them.

2:37 PM  
Blogger Will said...

Our circle of gay men here in southern New Hampshire has included many non-celibate gay priests over the years. From them I've learned how they manage, networking with other gay priests across the nation, looking out for each other. From what I can tell many of them are highly active sexually and also happen to be very good priests.

5:02 PM  
Blogger The Neighbors Will Hear said...

They may have been non-abstinent, Will, but I very much doubt they were non-celibate. Fr. Tony himself was celibate until a couple of months ago.

5:32 PM  
OpenID nowholdon said...

As a cafeteria Catholic, I wish him well, a long line of American Irish have put on the red cap in New York. However, I think a Latino could have really empowered the church. At least he appeared tough on the pedophile incidents. There are too many in power that were complict in the decades of abuse. Whoooo to them!

5:44 PM  
Blogger Will said...

Ted, here is the Webster online definition of celibate: 1. Abstaining from sexual intercourse; "celibate priests"

Celibate appears to encompass abstinence, as I thought. The priests who are part of our circle are non-celibate--and yes, I have empirical evidence.

8:26 PM  
Blogger Father Tony of the Farmboyz said...

think TNWH was holding to the french definition of celibataire meaning single, as in unmarried.

8:33 PM  
Blogger Will said...

That may well be, Tony, but you had already established the standard meaning (abstinent from sex) when you said you didn't know whether Bishop Doyle was straight or gay but suspected he was celibate. Given the fact that the Catholic Church has forbidden clergy to be married for nearly a millennium, it would make no sense for you to have meant you suspected that he was unmarried.

8:52 PM  
Blogger Father Tony of the Farmboyz said...

Yes Will, I agree with you 100%. I can only assume that the erudite TNWH was in a mood for a word game, as I myself often am.

8:56 PM  
Blogger The Neighbors Will Hear said...

It's my understanding that there are separate vows of celibacy (not to marry) and chastity (not to have sex). I am, of course, not an expert on canonical law, or even a Roman Catholic, so perhaps those rules are as fluid as the common usage of language. I am an unapologetic prescriptivist when it comes to most matters of vocabulary. Online dictionaries are often very lax on these matters: check out a dictionary from the 1970s.

9:14 PM  
Blogger Will said...

I checked out my unabridged Webster's ©1975 and you are absolutely correct.

So, a question--do you not admit to the development of languages, particularly English with it's messy history of absorbing a wide variety of influences, and evolving meanings?

9:40 PM  
Blogger The Neighbors Will Hear said...

I admit that English changes in a messy manner. I also admit the existence of bad breath. I don't know that I'd apply the term evolution since the language currently appears to be in a steep dive to the bottom. There appears to be a heavily descriptivist bias among contemporary lexicographers, and the necessary result of accepting and codifying any usage that pops up instead of encouraging or insisting on consistent and correct usage is that huge ambiguities arise. It becomes impossible to say precisely what one means when words go from having a single meaning to multiple meanings. The Internet only speeds the fuzziness of meaning. Just because English is becoming less and less clear doesn't mean that I have to play along. Those descriptivist bastards who edit dictionaries these days are going to be the first ones up against the wall when the revolution comes. Or perhaps second, after the Pope.

11:49 PM  
Blogger Mike said...

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

12:35 AM  
Blogger Will said...

Oh Ted, I do love you. Short of establishing an Academie Americaine, which isn't ever going to happen, English--and even those languages that DO have some sort of "control" over them--will continue to lurch along whoring for new words, spellings and syntax until it transforms itself one more out of many, many times.

In this respect English is like the arts--they are inconstant action with and reaction to what is going on NOW and you can't stop them or freeze them. Attempts to do so (the Nazis, Stalin) resulted in some pretty dreadful stuff.

English is a brat that goes its own way; it didn't have a dictionary until the 17th century and that was pretty much a joke in some respects. Read the play Gammer Gurton's Needle in its "untranslated" form, then Hamlet or Lear, then anything Restoration-- the changes are dizzying and all in a little over one hundred years.

Understand, I do not defend or advocate what's going on (I broke my daughters and at least eight generations of students of using "like" in the wrong context, for example) but I do know the juggernaut is in motion, roaring along faster and faster, and most likely won't be stopped by the likes of you or me or anyone else.

10:08 AM  
Blogger thomas tucker said...

It is ironic that a self-described prescriptivist such as TNWH is so anti-papal.

3:50 PM  
Blogger The Neighbors Will Hear said...

thomas tucker, I know that you're baiting me with you clear misuse of "irony," but I'm going to let it slide. And when I say "let it slide," I mean "not let it slide," because that, my friend, is irony.

10:50 PM  
Blogger thomas tucker said...

Yes, well, coming from a prescriptivist, that is certainly not ironic. Agree?

3:33 PM  

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