Pope Benedict XVI
In an age of skepticism or denial of the transcendent, there’s a mighty lot of interest in the pope.
The world is watching Rome and the Roman Catholic Church, only as it does it the big moments. The attention that was riveted instantly on the papacy when Pope Benedict XVI announced his retirement has only intensified over the subsequent weeks. Now it’s in overdrive, as the College of Cardinals enters the Conclave to elect a new pope.
The official Latin term for the time between popes holding the office of the papacy is the Interregnum. There is no pope. Vatican operations go into near shutdown or at least restricted mode with key officials doing only essential duties, attending to the most critical things, while the college of cardinals carry the weight of the church and world on their shoulders. But there’s no word for the uneasiness countless Catholics feel around the world for this time of the sede vacante, the empty seat. As one renowned cardinal put it last time around, in 2005, ‘it’s frightening, Peter is not there.’
The world is watching. Hopefully, they’re watching, reading and listening to reputable sources on what the pope said at his last public address.
So there, side by side in two top-of-the-fold articles in the Sunday New York Times the other day, were two stories that are seemingly unrelated, but are totally of a piece. A few days later now, they demand attention.
The media and Vatican watchers are busy speculating about the recent past (what ‘really’ prompted this resignation) and the future (who is ‘most likely’ to replace him), I think it’s important to take the opportunity while he’s still in the Chair of Peter to recognize what is the legacy of Pope Benedict XVI.
Do your homework.
The man himself is clearly a tired and overly wrought servant who recognizes and admits his failing health and strength. The global coverage of his historic announcement to step down has unleashed an exhausting barrage of analysis, mostly from those who know not of what they speak.
What is, is. What gets reported is another story.
This World Youth Day seemed different.
And thus, one of the biggest stories on the planet right now. Certainly, the most positive and hopeful one at the moment.
This is interesting. It’s not that a pope encouraging the communications media to be responsible is exactly headline news….
I have been an avid follower of the NASA program and followed its missions since childhood. So I found this last one particularly poignant.
Behind the headlines coming out of Egypt and other countries in political and social upheaval in the Middle East, the story is about human life and striving and destiny, maybe more than it ever was before social communications media empowered these peoples’ revolutions.
One year ago to the day, Archbishop Jerome Listecki delivered a homily about the nature of sin at his installation Mass as the new shepherd of Milwaukee who inherited the wreckage of its abuse scandal. Today, he went before the people, the press and the world to declare the natural progression of its consequences…..bankruptcy.
‘Can’t we all just get along?’
Benedict always has an incisive but gentle message for any country he visits, any culture he addresses. Which he really intends for larger society as a whole….
When Pope Benedict makes apostolic visits to to various countries, his remarks and addresses always reflect keen insight into that culture’s strengths and weaknesses. But he’s really addressing people of the world beyond that nation in his message of universal human rights and dignity.
Saturday Night Live used to feature a skit in which comedian Jon Lovitz played “The Pathological Liar” who enjoyed weaving fantastical tales which he enjoyed delivering as truth. That comes to mind, thinking through the audacity of the latest New York Times’ wildly spun tales about the pope. Only this is no joke…
The recent Time magazine cover story on Pope Benedict, sniping and unprofessional and at times juvenile, is getting the attention it sought. And some that maybe it didn’t…
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