My “pen” has been silent here as I’ve been consumed with other projects, but the election of a new pope seems a good time to return. I’ll try to keep up!
I’m always chagrined when we see a list of “front runners” for Peter’s Chair, because no one really knows. The talking heads are doing their best to fill the air, but the only people who really know who the pope will be is the Holy Spirit and the men who vote (after the new pope is elected, of course). Which is to say…no one knows ahead of time. The man elected has never been “one of the front runners” in my lifetime.
Pope Francis has already set the tone for his papacy in some very a unique ways.
First, he first addressed Romans as their bishop wearing only a white cassock. He didn’t wear the papal stole until he blessed the crowd and the people listening/watching around the world, and he didn’t wear the red cape under the stole. This sends a signal to me that he’s very interested in being a pastor, and says something about his simplicity.
Second, he chose the name “Francis” as his regal name. St Francis is a very popular saint with Christian community at large, including Protestants and some Orthodox. My own Southern Baptist grandmother had a St Francis statue in her garden. The name is, I think, I signal to the world that Pope Francis intends to be simple and committed to preaching the Gospel at all times. I suspect he’ll use words when necessary. I also think it could be a signal that Christian unity will be important to him.
Third, before he gave his first papal blessing, he asked the people of Rome to pray/bless him. He bowed his head and St Peter’s Square was silent for a few moments. Then he put on the papal stole and blessed the people, removing it when he was done. I saw that gesture as sign that he understands the role of the papacy, and will do what’s required of him, but that his first role is to be our “senior pastor.”
Vivat Papa Francesco!
Timothy Morgan at Christianity Today has a fresh take on why non-Catholics should care:
So, what is the benefit of a healthier papacy and Roman Catholic Church?
Both the late Pope John Paul II and Pope Emeritus Benedict exercised the teaching office in extraordinary ways. They championed the sanctity of life against the culture of abortion and mercy killing. They spoke out against the corrosive effects of secularism. Both convened urgent discussions between Christians and Muslims, and between warring nation-states. They encouraged ongoing theological dialogue between Catholic and Protestant scholars about justification, the authority of the church, and the proper understanding of the Virgin Mary.
Few Christian institutions have the historic scale and scope of the Catholic Church in the arenas of health care, education, and works-of-mercy outreach to the poor. The Catholic Church is the largest health-care provider in the world, managing 26 percent of all health-care facilities. It runs the largest U.S. K–12 private school network, serving more than 2 million students. But scarcer resources mean that needed schools, clinics, and ministries face closure every year. This reality provides Protestants and Catholics a new context for collaboration in mission. We trust the new pope will support such partnerships.
Damien Thompson at the London Telegraph is a bit more subdued about the job Pope Francis has ahead of him:
Alas, cleaning the stables is a more urgent priority than building on Ratzinger’s magnificent liturgical renewal. In many parts of the world, Roman Catholicism has become almost synonymous with sexual abuse and its concealment. The crisis is as bad as it was in 2005, when Benedict was elected, although most of the crimes are now more distant historical events.
Eliza Shapiro at The Daily Beast has the typical secular plain vanilla response.
Lisa Hendley writes about “being there” 21st century style.
EWTN has comprehensive coverage.
Journalist Michael Dougherty is, apparently, “deeply worried”.
Michael Martinez at CNN says the choice of the name is ‘precedent shattering’.
Benedict XVI: “I am not abandoning the Church”:
Farewell, Papa Benedetto, good and faithful servant.
Yesterday was the Feast of the Chair of Peter in the Catholic Church. Fr Dwight Longenecker explains why we have a feast for a piece of furniture.
I’ve always been curious about the origins of things, and this one is no different. According to the New Catholic Dictionary (via Catholic Culture), this feast has been around for a long time:
The feast of the Chair of Saint Peter at Rome has been celebrated from the early days of the Christian era on 18 January, in commemoration of the day when Saint Peter held his first service in Rome. The feast of the Chair of Saint Peter at Antioch, commemorating his foundation of the See of Antioch, has also been long celebrated at Rome, on 22 February. At each place a chair (cathedra) was venerated which the Apostle had used while presiding at Mass. One of the chairs is referred to about 600 by an Abbot Johannes who had been commissioned by Pope Gregory the Great to collect in oil from the lamps which burned at the graves of the Roman martyrs. — New Catholic Dictionary
In today’s post, Fr Longenecker comments on something I’ve been noticing more and more these days: demonic rage against all things Catholic.
It’s been my habit for years to scan the comment section of stories in the news to try to get a sense of how people feel about a certain subject. It’s not a scientific survey, but I have noticed that the comments about the Catholic Church have gotten even more vile lately. Anyone who’s read the responses to the Pope’s tweets can attest to this as well. The hatred is startling.
In another life I might have engaged in “comment warfare” with these haters, attempting to quote chapter and verse, news articles, our just cold logic in order to get them to see the error of their ways. But now I suppose I’m a little wiser and have far less patience with trolls.
The sad truth is that the demons who “prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls” have been hunting on fertile ground. While Christ’s ultimate victory is not in doubt, there’s a reason why the words of the Gospel (and the Mass) are that salvation is “for the many” and not “for all.” Christ had won the war; the question is how many casualties we’ll suffer before the final battle.
Want to survive? Go to Confession, and pray, pray, pray.
Over at National Review online, professor Sarah Ruden writes about the ancient Greek poet Horace and contrasts him with todays celebs. She also comments on Horace’s genius that outlives him by millennia.
Six hundred years or so after the Greek poet Archilochus turned singing into writing and ritualistic entertainment into accounts of his own experiences, and a couple of decades after Catullus brashly transplanted Greek lyric meters into Latin, Horace created stanzas so exquisite that they still tease and baffle translators. Technically, an inflected language (one extensively altering the forms of its words according to their use) like Latin or Greek has very flexible word order: “The horse rides Marcus” makes perfect sense in Latin if both the nouns have the right endings. But the shape of sentences nevertheless tended to be conventional. To break the syntax open and cause its contents to fall into new yet lovely shapes took a genius.
The Classics really do matter!
Read the rest here
Over at National Review Online, Kathryn Jean Lopez opines about religious freedom, and the contrast between the way Progressives see freedom, and how the rest of us see it. Discussing religion with Progressives is like speaking another language.
They see religious freedom as freedom of worship and don’t see any problem requiring me to violate my conscience. They don’t see religion having any place in the public square, being at best a personal and only personal relationship with the Almighty, and at worst a pleasant distraction for the uneducated.
Lopez writes, regarding several recent religious freedom cases in Europe:
A registrar was told she didn’t have the right to refuse to perform same-sex civil-union ceremonies and a counselor was told he didn’t have the right to opt out of working with same-sex couples. Can’t most of us agree that neither request from an employee — to work on a different case — is extreme or necessarily hateful, but instead a matter of retaining a healthy respect for conscience?
Progressives always believe they are acting in our best interests, even if we disagree. I know many people with Progressive beliefs, and the vast majority of them are nice people. Many of them go to church, even a few at my Bible study. But when we use the same words, we don’t mean the same thing.
If I could give any of them some advice, that is if they’d accept advice from a knuckle dragging bitter clinger, I’d ask them to please just leave people alone.
No, being obese, smoking, drinking gallons of sugary drinks is not healthy, we know that. Teach all you like. Run organic restaurants and medical clinics for diabetes. Set a good example. But if people don’t listen, leave them alone.
Yes, conserving energy is good. We know that. Heck, most of us agree. Drive your Prius and Smartcar if you like. Ride your bike to the store, eat your local food, wear your natural fibers. But if people want to drive SUVs and use incandescent bulbs, leave them alone.
No, homosexuals should not be beaten up or deprived of their right to form a relationship with whomever they like. Human dignity belongs to all humans. Fly your rainbow flags to your hearts’ content. But if people choose not to participate your “extreme makeover” of society, have the courtesy to leave them alone.
But Progressives aren’t content to merely do their own thing and persuade others to follow. They have to force others to go along. It’s not enough for us to enforce laws against assault of homosexuals, Progressives require us to accept and affirm unnatural relationships. It’s not enough to set national goals for energy conservation and invest in renewable energy, we have to be forced to buy compact florescent bulbs. It didn’t even matter that thousands of people who manufactured incandescent bulbs lost their jobs, and florescent bulbs were made mostly in China. We have to be forced to do “what’s good for us”.
Guns, sexuality, abortion, food, energy, even what jewelry we wear is all fair game for the Progressive busy body.
So, as the Progressive-in-Chief is inaugurated today…just one request: leave me alone.
Updated: They really can’t help themselves, can they? Cigarettes prescription only in Oregon?
I’m beginning a new feature today, attempting to be true to one of the original intents of this blog: exploration of Classical culture and society. Even 1,500 years after the Fall of Rome, the Roman has influence over Western Society. Language is one of those influences that echoes most, and I’d hazard a guess that well into a third of our English words have Latin roots. Exploration of language can give us insight into the origins and assumptions of our society.
As a military officer…the word “office” seemed the best place to start!
From Dictionary.com: [emphasis mine]
office [aw-fis, of-is]
1. a room, set of rooms, or building where the business of a commercial or industrial organization or of a professional person is conducted: the main office of an insurance company; a doctor’s office.
2. a room assigned to a specific person or a group of persons in a commercial or industrial organization: Her office is next to mine.
3. a business or professional organization: He went to work in an architect’s office.
4. the staff or designated part of a staff at a commercial or industrial organization: The whole office was at his wedding.
5. a position of duty, trust, or authority, especially in the government, a corporation, a society, or the like: She was elected twice to the office of president.
6. employment or position as an official: to seek office.
7. the duty, function, or part of a particular person or agency: to act in the office of adviser.
Origin: 1200–50; Middle English < Old French < Latin officium service, duty, ceremony, presumably contraction of opificium, equivalent to opi-, combining form akin to opus opus + -fic-, combining form of facere to make, do