“I have put it on the shelf with all the others.”

I am, honestly, trying to understand the slow motion train wreck of chaos, confusion and kerfluffle that marks the current Church. That’s why I wade through articles such as this one.

That said, the first of the two “misplaced paragraphs” (when will they find them all?) in what Edward Pentin has cleverly dubbed Lettergate  (a PR disaster for the Vatican) goes like this:

“Nonetheless, I (“I”= Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, for those of you maybe not up to speed – TC) do not feel that I can write a brief and dense theological page about them because for my whole life it has always been clear that I would write and express myself only on books that I had also truly read. Unfortunately, even if only for physical reasons, I am not able to read the eleven little volumes in the near future…” (My emphasis.)

This brought to mind an episode from the life of Sir Winston Spencer Churchill. Sir Winston, who cheerfully acknowledged his own megalomania, would routinely send copies of his latest books (he was a prolific writer) to friends and acquaintances in high places. Upon receipt of one particular reply, he gleefully presented it during a dinner party at his home, Chartwell:

“Opening an envelope bearing the royal crest, he reads aloud an acknowledgement from the Duke of Gloucester: ‘Dear Winston. Thank you for your new book. I have put it on the shelf with all the others.’”

Perhaps we, too, would do well to simply put this episode on the shelf with all the others, and move on. 


The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill, Vol 2: Alone, 1932-1940 William Manchester; Little, Brown and Co; Boston; 1988 pp18-19