The joys of an Inquisition

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the heretic

\ My name is Victor Morton, and I’m deputy national editor at The Times. I’m one of Julia’s editors and the go-to guy for her and others on things-Catholic at the Times. Though since she rejected my idea for calling her BeliefBlog “Encyclicals,” I withheld the imprimatur. My Times obituary for Pope John Paul II was a widely praised two-page spread and picked up by several other publications, including Catholic San Francisco, the archdiocesean paper.\

\ Since I’m not the reporter Julia is, I’ll start my contributions to this blog with the story of how I reacted to the election of then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger to the papacy. The College of Cardinals had been in session for a few days, but Cardinal Ratzinger apparently overcame negative campaigning by Cardinal Arinze (as reported on by Stephen Colbert at Comedy Central, archived here). The election was announced in Rome, early in the morning U.S. time and I get a call on my cell phone from an excited church friend while I’m still asleep. Here is the conversation, as best my sleep-fog-bound brain recalls:\

\ Me (barely-awake): Hello?\ David: It’s Ratzinger\ Me (not understanding): Huh?\ David: It’s Cardinal Ratzinger\ Me (still befuddled): What?\ David: A pope. We have a pope. It’s Cardinal Ratzinger.\ Me: Oh\ (I start dancing in my bedroom and break out into joyous song)\ Me: The Inquisition … let’s begin. The Inquisition … look out sin … \

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\ P.S. yes, I know, I know … the office Cardinal Ratzinger headed was the Papal Inquisition (or rather a successor to it) and not the Spanish Inquisition. And obviously Brooks is picking up historical exaggerations for comic purposes (ya think? Mel Brooks do such a thing?) And obviously, his papacy has been anything but an Inquisition. And obviously … my singing the song was a joke, though it’s a true story. As was the “Cardinal Arinze ad.”\

\ — Victor Morton, deputy national editor, The Washington Times

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