I just love the phrase "President Elect". It has such a very English, GilbertandSullivan, feel to it. I think our transpontine friends are very lucky to have one. And he says such divinely funny things ... "Steel your Spines", for example. He is a poppet.
You will guess, rightly, that I have been watching him a bit on video clips. Let me explain why.
Not along ago, I did rather join in with those other wicked souls who were laughing about the fact that the President Elect, "A devout Catholic", thought Psalmist was pronounced Palmist (instead of Sah-mist, as the rest of us, and our dictionaries, believe). One reader rebuked me for mocking somebody who had a speech impediment. So, I watched ... and listened ... to find any evidence that he cannot pronounce words with an initial S sound. I have to say that I discovered he has no problems at all with initial Ss. After all, many much younger men might have had trouble negotiating a phrase of such allusive complexity as "Steel your Spines". So I plead not guilty.
The survey, however, did convince me that, as my maternal Grandmother (now, I very much fear, deceased) would have put it, "He hasn't got much up top". And I got to wondering if this had any relevance to the question of giving him, or refusing him, Holy Communion ... a subject currently in the news. Reports are circulating about the words of Archbishops Chaput and Aquila. I have tentatively wondered if it can sometimes, in matters like this, be pastorally right to take account of somebody's low intelligence, ostensible decrepitude, deteriorating mental condition, or impaired grasp of realities.
Take Rex Mottram, for example, in Brideshead Revisited. He has proposed himself as a convert because he wishes to marry an aristocratic Catholic. Father Mowbray, given the task of instructing him, complains:
"'I wasn't happy about him. He seemed to have no sense of reality, but I knew he was coming under a steady Catholic influence, so I was willing to receive him. One has to take chances sometimes -- with semi-imbeciles, for instance. You never know quite how much they have understood. As long as you know there's someone to keep an eye on them, you take the chance.' ...
"'Poor Rex,' said Lady Marchmain. 'You know, I think it makes him rather lovable. You must treat him like an idiot child, Father Mowbray.'"
When someone is extremely mentally confused, might it be right to give them the benefit of the doubt out of pastoral oikonomia?
Of course, I do realise that the question of Scandalum has also to be taken into account.