23 July 2014

Swiss Clocks as well as Swiss Guards?

Back in the Good Old Days, tourists to Switzerland came back with rather naff little wall-clocks in which there were two figures ... a male and a female figure ... which alternately emerged and retreated. I don't remember quite why, and perhaps I'm a bit confused about the details; but doubtless you will be able to correct me. Or were cuckoos somehow involved? We old gentlemen do get a bit vague.

Under this Pontificate (in aeternum floreat) something very similar repeatedly occurs. Out pops the Sovereign Pontiff with an interview or whatever here or there or wherever in which he says (exempli gratia dico) that there is a 2% chance that any Catholic priest is a paedophile. The mechanism then whirs and clicks as that figure is withdrawn and, automatically, out comes the other figure (another Jesuit, as it happens) called Fr Lombardi, who explains that The Holy Father Wasn't Really Giving An Interview and that He Didn't Really Say That; or that Perhaps He Did Say It; or that He Said Something Like It But Certainly Not So As To Include Cardinals; or that No Exact Record Was Made Of What He Did Say; or et cetera et cetera ad nauseam vel ulterius.

Does Lombardi get paid overtime? Are Swiss clocks still manufactured?


Highland Cathedral said...

The main source of cuckoo clocks is the Black Forest in Germany. Here is a video about the place in Switzerland which claims to be the only place in the world where genuine Swiss cuckoo clocks are made:


Regarding papal interviews is there no one who can tell the Holy Father that the sooner he stops this kind of interview the better.

John Blaker said...

I had something similar: a Swiss weather house. The two figures were hung on a piece of horse hair that twisted one way or the other based on humidity.

Fr John Blaker

Gatepost productions said...

As one old fellow to another, may I say that I can understand your confusion over the exact workings of the Swiss clock? Allow me to remind you.

The old clock concerned weather
and whether it would rain, or not.
The new clock is concerns whether,
whatever the weather,
and whether the Pope said it or not.

Eugenie Roth said...

@ John Simlett
Perfect Explanation.
Thank you from Germany!

Eugenie Roth said...

(As I know in Swizerland they produce watches.
The clock with the cocoo and man and woman indicating the weather Situation are produced in Germany, Schwarzwald - Blackwood Forest)

TLM said...

Oh my goodness, Fr., this was hysterical! For some reason this article made me LOL!! Not that the situation we have going on is funny, but I guess it's so very absurd that it's actually funny when seen from your perspective. I so wish someone in the Vatican could persuade our dear Holy Father to quit with the interviews already. He is causing a mess (as per his own request) that is quite damaging to the faithful, not to mention his Priest sons who have been further dragged through the mud by this particular 'interview'. Granted the media is to be taken with a grain of salt, but how many times do they want us to buy into their line: 'It's the media's fault'? That excuse is getting old.

rick allen said...

The odd notion of many non-Catholics, shared, indefensibly, by many Catholics, that the pope is infallible every day in every way, is best dispelled, I think, by the pope being off-the-cuff, making little mistakes, showing that the power of infallibility is not something bandied about with reporters, but invoked only when the good of the Church requires it, and when pronounced, on faith and morals, ex cathedra, solemnly and without any ambiguity.

Most of the time the pope is a good man, an affable man, well-educated, shaped by his age and his culture, having prejudices and preferences, none of which have any sort of binding power on the faithful, other than our obligation to have the decency not to trash the man God has called to pastor the universal church in our time.

Fr John Hunwicke said...

Rick: I was just setting myself to answer this when I realised I had already done so on July 5. Gosh I am awesome.

rick allen said...

"Is it OK for us ordinary Cardinals, Bishops, Priests, Deacons, and Laics to say publicly, with regard to a non-Magisterial and non-formal papal statement, "Goodness me, what twaddle Bar Jona/Borgia/Lambertini/Pacelli/Ratzinger/Bergoglio did talk this morning"? If you reply to me "No; because of the deep respect and deference owed to the Vicar of Christ", then I have to say that, by bringing in his status, you seem to me to be smuggling the Magisterium back into the equation."

I don't think so. One can respect an office, even a wholly secular one, without agreeing with its exercise. I remember that my father would always speak respectfully of the president of the United States, even when he deeply disagreed with him, because the office demanded a certain deference. That kind of attitude, which I always found endearing, is of course dead and gone in our politics, and dying and going in our religious politics. Which I think a shame.

So if I think that the pope is wrong about something, of course I can say something about it, but circumstances count. The audience counts. My motivation counts. Whether it will do more good than harm counts. Calling it "twaddle" is a good example of the wrong tone. Popes aren't the only people who should speak tactfully, considering the probable effect even of accurate speech.

I might feel a little less rigidly about this if this were an age of exaggerated deference to the papacy. But in an age whose most common style is snark, a little old-fashioned courtesy, a little "courtship," wouldn't kill us.

Erasmus penned a rather severe criticism of a late pope in "Iulius exclusus e coelis," arguably inadvisable during the early years of the Protestant reformation. But the sight of a pope donning armor, fighting battles and conducting sieges was surely a little more taxing than anything we have to put up with.

rick allen said...

"Gosh I am awesome."

As is everything: