Weigel's letter contains at least one error of fact, i.e. an erroneous identification of then Proff. Ratzinger and de Lubac as Council Fathers (they were periti, "theological experts" who acted as consultors to the Council Fathers), which unfortunately requires us to withold absolute and unqualified praise of Weigel's effort as a paragon of polemical elegance.
Even so, Weigel's essay is more than an excellent polemical exercise - it merits consideration as one of the finest contributions to its literary genre in recent memory.
It also happens to hit the nail on the head.
"[Y]ou have lost the argument over the meaning and the proper hermeneutics of Vatican II. That explains why you relentlessly pursue your fifty-year quest for a liberal Protestant Catholicism, at precisely the moment when the liberal Protestant project is collapsing from its inherent theological incoherence."
"I understand odium theologicum as well as anyone, but I must, in all candor, tell you that you crossed a line that should not have been crossed in your recent article, when you wrote the following:
'There is no denying the fact that the worldwide system of covering up sexual crimes committed by clerics was engineered by the Roman Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith under Cardinal Ratzinger (1981-2005).'As enticing, as polemical engagement is, and indeed precisely because of its ability to inebriate - even intoxicate - I do not generally advocate it. The Romans have an expression, however, reported in the title of this post: quanno ce vo', ce vo', which roughly translates, "Sometimes, you've just got to have at it."
"That, sir, is not true. I refuse to believe that you knew this to be false and wrote it anyway, for that would mean you had willfully condemned yourself as a liar. But on the assumption that you did not know this sentence to be a tissue of falsehoods, then you are so manifestly ignorant of how competencies over abuse cases were assigned in the Roman Curia prior to Ratzinger’s seizing control of the process and bringing it under CDF’s competence in 2001, then you have forfeited any claim to be taken seriously on this, or indeed any other matter involving the Roman Curia and the central governance of the Catholic Church."
This was one of those times, and Weigel has acquitted himself admirably.
Read the rest here.