I am Tom Freeland, a lawyer in Oxford, Mississippi. The picture in the header is my law office. I'm on Twitter as NMissC

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Great opening sentence from Gary Wills: “Pope Benedict XVI is the best-dressed liar in the world.”

Ouch! From the New York Review of Books blog, Gary Wills makes clear his dissent:

Pope Benedict XVI is the best-dressed liar in the world. And in England he presided over the best set-designed lie imaginable. He beatified the nineteenth-century Oxford theologian John Henry Newman, presenting him (in the penultimate step toward canonization) as a docile believer in papal authority, an enemy of dissent, and a rebuke to anyone who questions church authority. When the pope declared authentic the bogus miracle on which he bases the beatification—the claim that a deacon from Boston was cured of a spinal disease after praying to the cardinal—he said in a letter from Rome to England last February “In a social milieu that encourages the expression of a variety of opinions on every question that arises, it is important to recognize dissent for what it is, and not to mistake it for a mature contribution to a balanced and wide-ranging debate.” This is a Newman few who are acquainted with his radical views would recognize. …

Whatever his motives, the pope is blatantly defying historical truth when he says that Newman is a model of submission to church authority. Newman was a restive Catholic under constant scrutiny and criticism from Rome until a new pope (LeoXIII) bought him off with a cardinal’s robes when he was eighty and tamable.

Wills’s post is a great and firey tirade, well worth reading if you have a taste for such things.

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