The Best Of The Dish This Weekend

Sheep Invade Madrid During Seasonal Livestock Migration

The theocons are not done with their rebellion. One of their more prominent advocates, Cardinal Raymond Burke, crossed an obvious line last week:

At this very critical moment, there is a strong sense that the Church is like a ship without a helm, whatever the reason for this may be; now, it is more important than ever to examine our faith, have a healthy spiritual leader and give powerful witness to the faith.

Then this:

Last weekend Australian Cardinal George Pell unnecessarily reminded his congregants not only that Pope Francis is the 266th Pope, but also that “history has seen 37 false or antipopes.” Antipopes? Does Cardinal Pell intend to hint that Francis isn’t a true Pope? Was Cardinal Pell not there when Francis was elected?

And this bit of intrigue from the former Pope:

“I am very glad that the Usus antiquus [the traditional Latin Mass] now lives in full peace within the Church, also among the young, supported and celebrated by great Cardinals,” wrote Pope Emeritus Benedict to Cardinal Burke, [after being invited by Burke to a Latin rite]. Vatican expert Sandro Magister points out today that in writing thus, Pope Benedict is including Cardinal Burke among ‘great Cardinals’ even though Pope Francis is set to deny him both a role in the curia and the leadership of a diocese.

I’m just struck by how adamant the right is when no longer fully in power. After decades in which moderate Catholics struggled on under far more conservative Popes, the theocons threaten revolt even against a hugely popular Pope, because he has … initiated a conversation. The obedience they preached is not exactly what they are now practicing, is it?

Some gems well worth re-visiting from the weekend: how the French used to smile (yes, it appears they once did); how some Kurds are making fun of ISIS; a persuasive defense of Leo Strauss’s reading of many ancient and modern political texts; a suburban bear-fight (I was not involved, I swear); “Jedi” as a religion in Britain; the devout Catholicism of And Warhol; and the surprising resilience of the idea of democracy in the Arab world. Plus: a beautiful frog.

The most popular post of the weekend was New Feminism; Old Moralism; followed by Evangelical Heresies. The most popular post of the quarter remains The Last And First Temptation Of Israel.

Meanwhile, it’s time for our monthly report card. Revenue was up cyclically (see the monthly data from March this year below), even as subscriptions remain at around 30,000 (30,170 as of today):

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Traffic was solid and stable: 705,000 unique visitors; 5.3 million pageviews. Total subscription revenue for the entire year is now $906K. Year 2 is well on track to bring in more revenues than Year 1. Thanks to all of you who made that possible.

And see you in the morning.

(Photo: Two thousand sheep pass through the city center of Madrid, Spain, on November 2, joined by shepherds, marking the annual livestock migration festival which has taken place in the Spanish capital since 1994. By Denis Doyle/Getty Images.)