Do not all orthodox Catholics believe that that authority is most certainly to be accepted over the objections of “a minority—sometimes a small minority,” as Mr. Douthat describes himself and his fellow-travelers? This minority self-identifies as orthodox and, it seems, potentially more orthodox than the synod. But it is a self-identification without credentials to validate the claim.
Finally, what are we to make of this: “Remember there is another pope still living!”? “Another pope still living!” This sounds like a threat. Are Mr. Douthat and the like-minded Catholics for whom he speaks appealing to a pope more to their liking over a pope less to their liking? If so, the statement has a regrettable sinister ring. Or what? Let’s hope that Ross Douthat does not mean his reminder to be as schism-suggesting and radically un-Catholic as it sounds to my conservative ears.
The thing about most Benedict fetishists is that they think he gives a shit about their concerns and will ride in to save them mounted on a mighty steed. I don’t like the guy at all, but he would eat Douthat for breakfast and have the rest of the Times editorial board for a tasty snack. He’s not dumb enough to ever, ever, ever take this kind of thing seriously.
Should Ross and the six other people who imagine they’re in a Michael Bay Battle Pope movie approach Benedict on bended knee and humbly beg the honor of dying to put him back on St. Peter’s throne, I can only see the Holy Father Emeritus patting Douthat on the head kindly and signaling for the Vatican psychiatrist.
Plus Benedict is four thousand years old, and in any case not in possession of the Papal Armies of the Borgias, so absent his jacking a Humvee and hiring Blackwater, he’s kind of shit out of luck.