On The Road With Cardinal Scola

It’s conclave Tuesday, y’all. The gathering of what Charlie Pierce loves to call the “cult of the red beanie.” I have no red-hatted dog in this fight but I’ve gotten a kick out some of the pre-conclave spin. My favorite was this item about Cardinal Angelo Scola of Milano:

To illustrate that life is a journey, one of the Italian cardinals
touted as a favorite to be the next pope doesn’t just turn to the
Scriptures – but also to Jack Kerouac and Cormac McCarthy.

Angelo Scola, the archbishop of Milan, is seen as Italy’s best chance
at reclaiming the papacy, following back-to-back popes from outside the
country that had a lock on the job for centuries.


Quoting from Kerouac’s iconic Beat Generation novel `’On the Road,”
Scola invited his audience of students to reflect on whether they `’were
going to get somewhere, or just going.” And he cited McCarthy’s
post-apocalyptic father-son journey in `’The Road,” urging youths to
consider the meaning of “destination” – a key theme in McCarthy’s work.

`’The destination is a happy life, an accomplished life that doesn’t end with death but with eternal life,” the archbishop said.

Jack Kerouac? Crazy, daddy-o. The Cardinal actually quoted a notorious bi-sexual alcoholic drug user. Awesome. Does this make him a closet liberal? Unlikely. Perhaps he’ll quote Ginsburg or Ferlinghetti next, which inspires me to suggest a possible name: Pope Beatnik I. The hipsters will love it and it shouldn’t scare too many old ladies or altar boys. The latter, alas, are always scared and the former mostly admire the Cardinals for their red frocked finery.

I’ll let Ian Anderson, of all people, have the last word, with this ode to the Beat Generation: