Rome (RAP) - Sunday, July 6, 2014. Our Rome press office was contacted by an anonymous Vatican representative today, claiming that Pope Francis has been trying to reach Mark Shea, a Seattle-based US Catholic apologist for "advice." ...[Hat tip to T.T.]
... "The Holy Father is seeking the help of Mr. Shea in walking him through various schemas that could form the basis of a magisterially appropriate response to the conflicting voices jockying for a place of influence around the table this October," said Mr. Stuart.
When asked why the services specifically of Shea were being sought, rather than those of, say, Gerhard Ludwig Cardinal Müller, Prefect for the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican representative reportedly replied that Pope Francis was an avid reader of Shea's blog, and had concluded that the future of the Church lies in the hands of Evangelical converts to the Catholic faith such as Mr. Shea.
... "It seems like he [the pope] finds in Shea someone who is more sure of what he believes to be true Catholic teaching than he may be sure of himself," said Stuart. "It's almost as if he sees Shea as a study in what it means to be authentically Catholic today, someone who 'makes a mess of things' (as the pope encouraged his followers to do) and who also 'enjoys it.' In fact, it could be that the pope shies away from the hard doctrinal stuff and sees Shea as the guy who could do this and yet put a good face on it."
... we could be standing on the biggest bombshell case of a pope reaching out from the Sea of Peter to an obscure member of the laity in order to solicit his help in clarifying Church doctrine. The result would be stunning, historical, even earth-shaking.
Clearly this would take the papacy into unmapped territory, and it could also mean some questions about the status of Mr. Shea. One staff member in our Rome office asked whether Shea could become a sort of "Super-Pope." The prospect is unlikely, of course, although some contacts in Seattle have suggested that Shea would welcome such a prospect.
"I am not an 'obscure American apologist'", Shea is reported to have responded. "I am a very 'big' man in Catholic circles. I could help the pope sort things out."
Monday, July 07, 2014
Things appear to be taking a turn for the unexpectedly interesting: Robert Allen, "Rumoured: Pope Francis seeks advice from US apologist Mark Shea on October Synod" (Road Apples, July 6, 2014), writes: