Friday, August 20, 2004

Campaign Trail: Day 3
Folks, the rigors of the campaign trail are rather time consuming, especially in a rural diocese like mine; however, I am going to try to provide a daily report through the September 1 election.

Last night was the first debate between the candidates. It was a typical catholic gathering. We met in a 1950's era construction parish hall (read: largely cinderblock walls painted sea green) and began with a pot luck supper. Following dessert, the candidates were introduced. The debate was largely fair and kept to the issues. There was one awkward moment between two of the other candidates (I wasn't involved) when one claimed the other had been ordained in blue jeans. Shock and horror came over the crowd. The implication was clear: that particular candidate was ordained, and thus is the child of, a liturgically untrustworthy generation. But now to the real show stopper....

If you have read this blog for some time, you know that my Irish heritage (my ancestry is soaked in Ryans, Keatings, Mahers, and Wheelahans) is more than a mere label. Yes, I have a fairly standard Irish temper. Well, I was tired toward the end of the debate and wasn't on my best game. It got a bit ugly. One candidate, in an attempt to court the JP II generation vote, falsely compared himself to Cardinal Ratzinger, and, well, I lost it. During my days in Rome I had the pleasure of meeting Cardinal Ratzinger, and even serving as his MC at an ordination Mass. I couldn't let the remark go unanswered. The exchange went something like this...

Fr. Candidate A: "We need to recreate the John Paul II curial model at the Vatican in this archdiocese. For too long we have had no consistent oversight, no watchdog, to ensure that the archbishop's vision is implemented throughout our great land. Much like Cardinal Ratzinger's service to the Pope, indeed the universal Church, I have the experience and the shared vision to be of service to our Archbishop."

Me: "Fr. Candidate A, I have met Cardinal Ratzinger. Cardinal Ratzinger is a man I have worked with. Father, you're no Cardinal Ratzinger!"

It just sort of came out of my mouth before I really thought about it. I think the comment was justified, however, it may have solidified the notion in some electors minds that I am a rash, young priest who doesn't show enough respect to his older brothers in the priesthood. We'll see what the diocesan media make of this.

A reminder to readers: Though I have indeed been nominated to the Council of Priests, campaign reporting is entirely fictictious.

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