InsideCatholic’s Predictions for 2011


We’ve gone through a ringer of a year in 2010. What might the next twelve months bring? We asked our regular columnists and writers to make a prediction and share a hope for 2011.

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Here’s what they gave us…

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Rev. George W. Rutler

I enjoy the rampant tautology in the expression “predicting the future.” I prefer to postdict. It is safer. I have many postdictions about 2010. One should not predict unless one knows, and there is a lot I do not know. That eminently sensible genius Abraham Lincoln said, “With high hope for the future, no prediction is ventured.” One greater than Lincoln said we should not get into knots about the morrow (cf. Mt 6:34).

But since I have been pressed, I invoke no necromancy and summon only that increasingly rare commodity, common sense, to expect that the political insanities in North Korea and Iran, and possibly Venezuela, will issue in some sort of internal revolt, and that the mortal coil that barely holds Cuba together will fray and perhaps break. China will also begin to unravel in ways social and economic, and the Church persecuted there will get wider attention. The confidence of the European Union will shatter, and I shouldn’t bet on the Euro. Holy Church will inspire us with some unexpected new saints, while some ill-advised causes will diplomatically be dropped. At least one purported Marian apparition will be declared unworthy of acceptance, along with some disclosures about the psychology of delusion. A renewal of authentic religious orders will coincide with a realistic judgment that many conventual communities have de facto abandoned the Faith and will be considered vestigial to the life of the Church and subject to guidelines for sorting out finances and property rights.

Other than that, I sing the verse of the newly Blessed John Henry Newman: “I do not ask to see the distant scene, One step enough for me.”


Russell Shaw

Prediction: The New York Times will give the heave-ho to Maureen Dowd and invite Pope Benedict to take her place as an op-ed columnist. Executive Editor Bill Keller will explain that “Maureen was getting sort of predictable, and you just never know what the Holy Father will say.”

Wish: That when he gets the Times’ offer, Pope Benedict will accept, and will simultaneously appoint Ms. Dowd editor of L’Osservatore Romano “to give the paper a woman’s touch.”


David Warren

I have little foresight, and no prognostic skills, beyond expecting memorable events to come from unobserved quarters. The best I can find in my correspondence this morning is a suggestion, from an old friend in Chiang Mai, Thailand, that we sell all our shares in wallpaper companies — this because people will be papering their walls with U.S. dollars. I’ve told him not to give up hope in the wallpaper companies. Maybe they’ll get the contract to print the dollars.

If I had one wish, it would be that, through some kind of Divine intercession — the removal, perhaps, of some invisible asteroid — Catholics across North America (and Europe for that matter) would suddenly shake off their “happy face” or “upbeat” tendencies. For these strike me as the principal immediate obstacle to the recovery of the Church and her release from the desolation of “post-Vatican II.” The secular world already supplies cheap sentimental gestures, meaningless reassurances, and cute greeting cards. It cannot supply an apprehension of Christ and the joy that must follow, even to martyrdom. That is for Catholics to do, and we are tied down for the moment by the multiple tiny threads of low expectations.


Marjorie Campbell

Prediction: Pro-life women will finalize the reclamation of “feminism” as a family-friendly political platform that will begin to attract and unite with an “earth friendly/body friendly” rejection of contraceptives and acceptance of female fertility.

Wish: That women in the public forum will be fully restored to good humor and replace their frightening masculinity with maternal warmth, cute clothes, and good domestic jokes.


John Zmirak

1. The repeal of “Don’t ask, don’t tell” will lead to the formation of powerful lobbying/pressure groups within each branch of the military service, pushing for gays to be promoted, eradicating “homophobic” practices, and punishing soldiers who make “homophobic” remarks. Soon enough, a Matthew Shepard-style tragedy will lead to a punitive witch hunt within the military to purge those who disapprove of the “lifestyle.” This will alienate the kind of conservative American who typically volunteers, depressing recruitment — increasing the pressure on the Pentagon to recruit ex-cons and illegal aliens.

2. Our troops will remain, in largely the same numbers, in Iraq and Afghanistan, protecting the amazingly corrupt Muslims from the appallingly fanatical ones. Christians will continue to flee Iraq, and Western countries will continue to single Iraqi Christians out for deportation, to prove their national commitment to multiculturalism and civilizational suicide.

3. Our own country’s borders will be better guarded, despite the best efforts of our president and our bishops’ conference. The pro-life, pro-security majority in the House will insist on stronger enforcement of immigration laws, attaching provisions to spending bills that the Senate will have to swallow. Meanwhile, our economy will stay shaky, leading many migrants to “self-deport.” However, the drug wars in Mexico — caused by our draconian Prohibition laws, which millions of Americans simply will not obey — will continue to make life unsafe in large swathes of that afflicted country, encouraging people to flee northward.

4. A judge in New York State will set Professor David Epstein free and rule that laws against incest among “consenting adults” are unconstitutional, citing as precedent Lawrence v. Texas, the 2003 decision striking down Texas’s anti-sodomy laws. Conservatives who predicted this outcome back in 2003 will continue to be seen as irresponsible alarmists, and hack Republican activists will launch a constitutional amendment banning incest — raising millions of dollars from donors, which they will spend on high salaries for themselves and French dinners for their mistresses.

5. The new translation of the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite will be implemented only fitfully, as hundreds of pastors simply refuse to switch to the new books. The New York Times will portray their refusal as heroic resistance to Pope Benedict’s long-term agenda — that begins with more formal rhetoric in the liturgy, but will end with the re-establishment of the Spanish Inquisition, which will be staffed by crypto-Nazi pedophiles with ties to Sarah Palin.

6. In New York City, where 41 percent of all pregnancies are aborted, the City Council will indeed pass Bill 371, effectively snuffing out pro-life pregnancy centers. (Centers that don’t offer abortion and contraception will simply be made illegal.) This will set the precedent for similar legal assaults in other leftist localities, as part of a national strategy being conducted by the abortion industry — unless, of course, enough friends of Life like us fight back.

7. Government official and agencies will continue to promote the Islamicization of America, as New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg did when his office wrote press releases on behalf of the Ground Zero Victory Mosque; at the same time, Leviathan will increase its campaign against the Church — such as the unanimous resolution by San Francisco’s board of supervisors condemning Catholic teaching on sexual ethics.

8. Faithful Catholics will go on having large families, educating them to carry on the Faith, and seeking out reverent liturgies where their sensibilities will be formed by beauty and humility. And “beauty will save the world” (Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov).


Deal W. Hudson

My New Year’s wish: That Hollywood producers will stop reducing all film narratives to highly choreographed CGI fight scenes — the success of James Cameron’s Avatar proved once again that plot and character are more arresting than any spectacle (hat tip to Aristotle’s Poetics).

My New Year’s prediction: Sarah Palin will continue to grow in influence, and she will forge a powerful alliance with Newt Gingrich.


Anthony Esolen

1. Pope Benedict will say something wise, humane, and therefore in perfect keeping with Catholic teaching, but what a friend of mine calls the Ginger effect (after a famous Far Side cartoon) will kick in: That is, the media will hear only, “Blah blah blah condom blah blah blah condom blah blah blah.”

2. The rest of the world will begin to wonder whether it is a good idea to keep buying dollars as their reserve currency. They will not begin to wonder whether it is a good idea after all to keep buying America’s second most lucrative export, pornography.

3. America’s cities will feature parades of nearly naked men celebrating their confusion. There will not be a single parade anywhere to honor men who grew up to marry and to father a family after the normal manner of men and women everywhere.

4. Domenic Johanssen, the homeschooled boy kidnapped by the Swedish government — from the very airplane he and his parents had boarded to emigrate to India — will not be reunited with his family, whose only “crime” was a refusal to join the Swedish school system. The success of this evil venture will embolden other governments to crush incipient homeschooling movements — but not in the United States, where the movement possesses enough power to put fear into a politician’s heart.

5. Our greatest and sanest minds will continue to have to waste their time reminding people of the obvious, in all those matters that touch upon human sexuality. Meanwhile, even as the Church receives great opprobrium for the sex scandal, a countermovement will begin its slow and sly resurgence. That is, people will begin to return to the attitude developing 20 years ago among the illuminati: that the harm of pedophilia is not so great, or that indeed it might be a good thing for a kind and responsible adult to introduce a child to the world of sex. To steal Mary Eberstadt’s great phrase, we will begin once more to see Pedophilia Chic.

6. The slow recovery of Catholic identity at certain colleges and high schools will continue. And Jesus will love us with His unspeakable love, despite all our failings and our foolishness.


Ronald J. Rychlak

My prediction is that the American bishops will encourage Catholics to return to their Catholic identity. We’ll see more parishes that support meatless Fridays, Eucharistic adoration, and reverence at Mass. I also think this effort will bring many people closer to the Church.

My wish is for peace, happiness, and an effective diet that is easy to follow!


Alfred A. Lagan

2011 will see an extensive revamping of Obamacare due to challenges on constitutional grounds. However, the bill will not be repealed for two reasons: First and most important, Obama retains veto power, and the votes to sustain a veto seem firm; and second, the newfound spirit of cooperation since the election may influence the GOP to seek a compromise with the administration, rather than confrontation. Republicans might conclude that their best chance in the 2012 elections is to show a spirit of compromise rather than obstruction.


Rev. Dwight Longenecker

I offer these New Year’s predictions and wishes in no particular order and with a sense of holiday levity:

For the new year, I wish for an extra six hours every day, or at least the self discipline to use the time I have already been given. I wish to discover a Catholic billionaire who would love to be involved in our parish project to build a beautiful new church in Greenville, South Carolina. I wish for the grace to take others more seriously and myself less seriously. I wish for the American mainstream media to experience a corporate, supernatural infusion of both intelligence and irony, and for the emergence of a new Catholic fantasy writer who does not simply rehash Narnia or Middle Earth. I wish for film directors to abandon 3D and special effects based on explosions, and for an angel who will back my own film project about Shakespeare the Catholic.

I predict the continued dominance of screen-based over print-based media. I also predict the continued lackluster performance of the president of the United States and the rise of a Reagan-esque Republican to take his place. I predict the continued decline of Catholics who dwell in the twilight world of “the spirit of Vatican II” and the simultaneous rise of “John Paul II” Catholics. English-speaking Catholics will happily (and surprisingly) implement the new translation of the Mass. I predict increased social exclusion, suspicion, and persecution of Catholics worldwide, and the subsequent vitality that will come in its wake. I predict the successful launch of the Anglican Ordinariate in England and around the world. I also predict that movie directors will not abandon 3D or special effects based on explosions, and that Hollywood will not think a feature film based on Shakespeare the Catholic to be an immediate blockbuster. (Even though it would be really good.)


Jeffrey Tucker

Contrary to predictions and expectations, the new English translation of the Missal is going to be a smashing success. The language brings what we experience in liturgy in line with what we read in the Catechism. Catholics in the pews will find themselves completely at ease with the new decorum and solemnity embedded in the new text. This new Missal will further inspire other changes in music and architecture and even the way celebrants and people comport themselves at Mass. It is a real turning point, a fresh start for the Ordinary Form of the Mass and therefore for how 95 percent of Catholics regard their weekly obligation. It should have happened decades ago, but we should be no less gratified that it is happening now. I fully expect that it will signal a recovery of so much lost tradition and therefore draw more people back to their parishes.


Mark P. Shea

My political, religious, cultural, and personal predictions for 2011: Politically, I predict that the Stupid Evil Party and Evil Stupid Party will work hand in hand (while feigning radically different agendas) to increase the power and riches of the rich and powerful.

On the religion front, I predict that the world will continue on its way to fulfilling unfulfilled prophecies by laying the foundations for the rise of antichrist and the final Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ (as it has been slowly and persistently doing for 2,000 years).

Culturally, I predict that the battle between antichrist and the Church will continue to sharpen, and that new martyrs, red and white, will have the honor of serving our Lord by their charity and sufferings. Among the white martyrs I will reckon people like Steve Greydanus, who must watch Twilight movies so the rest of us don’t have to.

Personally, I predict I will spend the year falling down and getting up, with (I hope) a bit of progress due entirely to the grace of God. By year’s end 2011, I expect to be still disappointing most people, including myself.

My New Year’s wish is that my readers have a living and lasting encounter with Jesus Christ that leaves them forever changed.


Joseph Susanka

One of my favorite reasons for speculating on the Oscars as the new year begins is that the line between “prediction” and “wish” is so blurred, I can barely tell the two apart. (Plus, if last year’s predictions are any indication, this edition will bring a fair bit of levity, as well.)

Having just had the pleasure of seeing the Coen Brothers’ True Grit, I can safely say it deserves the numerous nominations it will undoubtedly receive, but that it will probably (sadly) win none of them. Jeff Bridges’ Rooster is great fun, but not fun enough to overcome the fact that he won last year — and that Colin Firth made The King’s Speech. (Speech‘s Geoffrey Rush seems likely to take home the Best Supporting Actor award at this stage in the game, though award season can be notoriously fickle.) Hailee Steinfeld, who is getting quite a bit of early buzz, is being (somewhat surprisingly) pushed as a Supporting Actress by Paramount; perhaps that’s just as well, because the Oscar’s going to Annette Benning for her role in The Kids Are All Right. But the Supporting category will be just as hard on her, with The Fighter‘s Melissa Leo the probably winner. It’ll miss out on Best Picture, as well. David Fincher’s The Social Network will take that honor. (The statue will fit nicely on the shelf with Fincher’s Best Director one; bringing up Peter Weir’s name is much more wish than prediction.)


David R. Carlin

My prediction has to do with Sarah Palin (who reminds me of some students I’ve taught). Seeing that Obama’s move to the political center has made him invulnerable in 2012, she won’t run; she’ll wait till 2016. In the meantime, she’ll astonish Katie Couric and the rest of us with a newfound intellectualism — just as many of my students have become surprisingly smart after knuckling down to study.


Irene Lagan

My predictions for 2011: The American Episcopal Church will begin to disintegrate as an increasing number of Episcopal priests petition Rome to join the Catholic Church. In England, there will be a noticeable increase in the numbers of young men with vocations to the priesthood, and Catholicism will begin to take root.

All Catholic hospitals will have to adhere to federal law regarding health care (which means, ultimately, that Catholic hospitals will have to provide abortion services).

And the Defense of Marriage Act will be repealed — or at least challenged.


Eric Pavlat

I think that technological advances in communication and in miniaturization will drive our culture in much the way that advances in transportation transformed the country in the early 1900s. My wish is that, in our constant reaching out to other people through these technologies, we will recognize our true hunger — communion with God — and a countercultural “silence” movement will begin, recognizing the unhealthiness of constantly seeking short bursts of electronic “updates.”


Kate Wicker

Prediction: Katie Couric will be lauded for helping to shift attitudes about Muslims after making a cameo appearance on Little Mosque on the Prairie.

Wish: My little ones may not be able to pour themselves a cup of milk (without flooding the counter) or quell their hyperactive, overtired moods all on their own, but they do have the uncanny ability to cipher when I’m doing something with love — or not. So aside from wishing for world peace, the dissolution of Obamacare, and more episodes of Mad Men, my wish (resolution!) for 2011 is to embrace Saint Therese of Lisieux’s little way and to do every little thing — from spreading PB on bread to fishing a Lego out of my toddler’s mouth — with simple but very real love.


Zoe Romanowsky

My Two Foodie Predictions:

  1. More citizens will push for the legal right to buy and sell raw milk, while the FDA steps up its raids of small farms.
  2. Raw cocao powder will become the latest and greatest anti-oxidant. That’s also my wish, since it will turn gourmet chocolate into a health food.


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