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Italy Day One

Greetings from Castelsardo, a beautiful medieval town on the coast of Sardinia. I am here without my luggage, which was lost either by American Airlines, British Airways, or Alitalia, I don’t know which. It took me four changes of plane to get here, so I’m not all that surprised that my luggage went missing. I just hope it gets here tomorrow.

I have been in transit for over 24 hours, so it’s fair to say that I’m worn out. I did have a wonderful dinner with some of the folks from the ideas festival going on here. I learned that some on the Catholic left are going apesh*t over my Benedict Option book tour here. Look at this tweet from a professor in Bologna:

Ah, so my book tour — which has been planned for months — is part of the anti-Francis conspiracy. It wasn’t just the delicious Sardinian wine that made me laugh when they showed me this tweet. I’m just a fat middle-aged ex-Catholic who sits on his couch in Louisiana with his dog at his side and blogs. But see, I’m part of the Vigano Mafia. Lord have mercy, out of what troll-hole do these people come from?

Look at this too, by Beaner:

“Explicitly”? Beaner can’t find a single line in the book criticizing Francis. He’s huffing something again, and in his delirium slamming Archbishop Zuppi of Bologna, who invited me to dialogue with him about the Benedict Option there. This is another example of the fraidy-cat left trying to no-platform people with whom they disagree. It is true that I have criticized Francis strongly for the way he is handling clerical sexual abuse, and I am glad Archbishop Vigano wrote what he wrote (though I think he was wrong to call for Francis to resign), but there is absolutely nothing in The Benedict Option critical of Francis. The troubled Father Antonio Spadaro is the one who weirdly described the Benedict Option as anti-Francis. In France earlier this year, I met a young Catholic who helped start a communal living project inspired by Francis’s encyclical Laudato Si, and the Benedict Option. I think that’s fantastic. I’m sure the progressive Bishop Zuppi and I will disagree on some things, but why shouldn’t we talk about it? He’s a Christian, I’m a Christian. We are brothers. We might even learn from each other. I’m not here in Italy to put down Pope Francis at all.

Shocking, I know.

It would be interesting to know what Pope Francis thought about the Benedict Option, as opposed to his irritable disciples. One would think that a pope would be excited about an idea that calls on Catholics and other Christians to be a lot more intentional in their discipleship. But maybe not.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

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