Monday, February 13, 2006

The Times Explains It All For You

The burden The Times bears is a heavy one. It must advise presidents and kings, governors and judges, and all the rest of our masters and pretended masters. Today, along with the SAT test and dental hygiene, The Times has decided to sort out the after-life.

This morning's editorial doesn't quite go so far as to recommend. But it does predict. Apparently, Limbo's days are numbered. And while a preservation order might be found for Hell, it will be subject to improvements and upgrades, "in other words, not a bad place to hang out but lacking the grace and joy of God." A sort of "Limbo for adults". And there is fear for Purgatory. It's probably for the chop also, but what a shame that would be should another Dante happen along, as all his source material will have been whizzed down the doctrinal shredder.

The silver lining in this is that The Times believes that it all depends upon the Pope. It's completely up to His Holiness. No one else gets a look-in. Not Canterbury or Constantinople; not the WCC or Pat Robertson. Rabbinical councils, boards of Imams, and the Dalai Lama? Nope. Not even the Eminent Lord Roger Cardinal Mahony. The Times wants to be fully on board with Vatican I and papal infallibility.

It's a shame that isn't quite how papal infallibility works, as it's a very pleasing change for The Times. (His Holiness's charism of infallibility is in the service of preserving and clarifying the Church's Tradition not in coming up with more marketable doctrines and cunning novelties to amuse the bored.) So there is still much theological education to be done down at First and Temple. But at least they do now seem to know Who's in charge. Well done, Times.