Welcome brothers, Fathers and friends. And most of all, welcome, John. When I think of you, John, I think of the search for the truth: for what really happened, what was really said, or what it really means. And the search for the truth is a really tough job.
For whether you take your media new or old, hot or cold what really matters is not the form of the information, but whether it is true, without slant, without idealogical agenda or commercial interest.
Now, admittedly, there are times I like to have my ears tickled, mornings when I google up those who will tell me how wonderful I am and what an instrumental role I play in the church, doing their part to reinforce my infallible world view, which I have created to reassure myself that I am in control.
But on those mornings when my better angels surf the blogs, John Allen is the voice of reason, insight, and well-informed sources to whom I consistently turn. I don't always like the truth he has to tell, but then again I'm not always thrilled by the observations of my spiritual director either. But both of them speak the truth, in season and out.
I have known John Allen for a long time. We are both veterans of the translation wars of the mid 90s, the struggles for publication of the new Lectionary for Mass, and the seemingly endless process to produce a new Roman Missal. And today, while I luxuriate as pastor of this holy house, John continues to help us to understand among other challenging topics the meaning and character and place of Pope Francis, the subject of his reflections this evening. John, you are the original Vox Clara in a Church and a world which is sometimes very hard to understand.
It is not very often that I get to introduce a man whom I respect as deeply as this one. My brothers and friends I give you John Allen.