Mottramism at Work

Senior Editor of The American Conservatiive magazine Rod Dreher has posted in his blog on the magazine’s website an example of what he calls “Mottramism” at work in the higher echelons of the Roman Catholic Church. He defined the concept several years ago based on the writings of Evelyn Waugh:

This takes its name, of course, from Rex Mottram, Julia Flyte’s husband in Brideshead Revisited. At one point, Rex decides to convert to Catholicism in order to have a proper Church wedding with Julia. But the sincerity of his conversion becomes suspect when he is willing to agree with any absurdity proposed in the name of Catholic authority, and shows no intellectual curiosity into its truth or falsehood. As his Jesuit instructor, Father Mowbray describes his catechetical progress:

“Yesterday I asked him whether Our Lord had more than one nature. He said: ‘Just as many as you say, Father.’ Then again I asked him: ‘Supposing the Pope looked up and saw a cloud and said ‘It’s going to rain’, would that be bound to happen?’ ‘Oh, yes, Father.’ ‘But supposing it didn’t?’ He thought a moment and said, “I suppose it would be sort of raining spiritually, only we were too sinful to see it.’”

He doesn’t use the word, but … Carlo Lancellotti, a mathematics professor who comments on this blog…writes today about Mottramism in the current papal court — specifically, in the public statements of Father Antonio Spadaro, a Jesuit priest who is in Pope Francis’s inner circle.

It probably helps to be Roman Catholic to appreciate the intricacies of what follows, but one has a good idea from Dreher’s definition of “Mottramism” what to expect. Here’s a link to the full posting. Thanks to Dave Lull for passing it on to us.

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