Naturally I had to do like all the other hot catholic bloggers, and go quick read Spe Salvi.  Okay, not quick.  I’m about halfway through. 

    (And no, I don’t aspire to be a hot catholic blogger, so, everything’s fine.  When you are a purely recreational catholic blogger, it can take you a week or more to read the new encyclical — you can even have doubts about how to spell "encyclical", and it’s okay.)

    I think I must have hit on the mysterious "reading level" that everyone always wants to know about.  People mostly ask that about my children ("What is your son’s reading level?"), though once I had a Barnes & Noble employee gush over my purchase of a Wall Street Journal, on account of that newspaper being written at a twelfth grade reading level.  Being a person who had graduated high school, I was really quite relieved to have passed that assessment.

    So if anyone asks me now about my Reading Level, I can tell them it’s officially at the Lay Faithful level.  The pope wrote me (and a billion of my closest friends) a letter, and I can read it.   I have to pay attention — it’s a bit more elevated than Jeeves and Wooster, which has been my other reading of late — but as long as I am actually thinking about what I am reading, it all makes sense. 

    And, I might add, it is really, really good.  Poor SuperHusband, I kept interrupting him last night to say, "You would love this!  Oh you should read this!  Oh this part is so good!"   It’s going something like the answers to the final exam (essay-type) of a class I would have loved to take, and might have even done pretty well in, if only I could have kept up with all the reading.    Church Fathers, Lives of Saints, Economic Theory, French Revolution, and much, much more, all in one great package  – a whopper of a class.

    Not, as I say, a class in which I would have actually excelled. I am person who knows what Karl Marx thought and taught, more or less, but have never personally read much more than an excerpt or two of the man’s writings.  But I’ve never let this shortcoming keep me from pondering economic theory, so the whole little study of how the hope of Communism compares to the hope of Christianity has me going "Yes!  Yes!"  

     –> Somehow I have resisted breaking into impious cheering for the Holy Father. But a few earnest prayers of thanks and "Please let this man live to write the third installment," most definitely.

    All that to say, it’s good reading.  Nice and meaty, but still readable.  Helps to be widely read, but I stand as proof that you don’t have to have actually read the Great Books, only the general summaries of those Great Books.  (A knowledge of the New Testament and a fearlessness about Greek word study, yes, you need that, too.  But if you listen at Mass every week, you should have that by now.)

    And it’s good, by the way, not merely in the sense of "keeps the intellect amused", but because it really hammers home the very Good News.   So, encouraging stuff.

***

Reminds me, by the way, that next up in the Living Wage discussion is going to be a look at the concept of "structures of justice".  Nothing down on paper yet, though, so don’t hold your breath.

In mystery ailment news: No news is no news.  Orthopedist looks at blood work, takes x-ray, shakes head.  More investigating to follow in ensuing weeks.  Meanwhile, children are getting quite good at doing the dishes.

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