March 15, 2013

Thoughts Shaken, Not Stirred

So last night was the talk by a Fr. W. O.P. at St. Pat's downtown and I skipped it because I didn't want to drive all the way back downtown. Psychologically it's tough to do it again. But I guess he's pretty renowned: certainly you know “something's up” when all the three priests and one deacon of St. Patrick's concelebrate at weekday masses just to hear the four minute homily of the august Dominican preacher. Turns out high-ranking Cardinal Bertone, a potential pope during this past conclave, talked him into becoming a bishop in his native England but almost at the last moment, after preparations had been made, he changed his mind since being a bishop these days is rather trying. Lots of administration, headaches, closing of churches, etc…

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In some ways, the message of Pope Francis won't be that much different from Benedict and Benedict not that much different from John Paul since the gospel is the gospel. And yet the sheep delight in the slightest tweak to the message! Hence I rhapsodize over a slightly different translation of scriptures!

I've been lately thinking that he's not my pope, or your pope, but our pope. I'm getting allergic to this natural human tendency to polarize ourselves by putting ourselves into "camps". As Pope Francis said of his predecessor: "Benedict XVI lit a flame in our hearts." A great thing about the Catholic Church compared to, say, political leadership is that no matter who gets elected we should feel especial closeness because he is, after all, our father! It's the office itself that is crucial, not the man, and not as a vehicle for personality.

And yet....we are human, and we are attracted to some of our spiritual leaders more than others. Grace perfects nature and all...

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