“To everyone who has, more will be given; but to him who has not, even what he has shall be taken away.”
Memes are important in our society. In our virtual public sphere, they often express with clarity the issues at stake in our public life. The first one I ever recall seeing was back around 2003, when Katharine Jefferts Schori, the first presiding “lady bishop” of the Episcopal Church in the U.S. (and a lesbian to boot) was prominent on the internet. Schori was a foil for conservative Anglicans, who circulated a meme which depicted her in an earnest boss-lady pose, wearing a sports jacket and dog collar, standing next to a graphic that read: “Don’t believe in that crap? Neither do we. The Episcopal Church welcomes you.” Thus, they cleverly satirized their leaders’ rejection of basic Christian doctrines regarding biblical authority and sexuality (i.e., “that crap”).
This image came to mind when Pope Francis issued Traditionis Custodes back in July. Ever since the end of Vatican II, the church leaders who came to prominence in its wake have battled to enshrine their interpretation of the Council into the Church’s life and teaching. These leaders, as is well known, have fallen into two camps (though of course there are variations) that Benedict XVI described as the hermeneutics of “discontinuity” and “reform” respectively.