Posts Tagged ‘abdication’

I think it’s best to resume blogging without any apologetic fanfare for my lengthy absence. It has been a wild several months. The muse fled early on and pregnancy, weddings, illnesses and school life has been rather too busy to spend time tip tapping away at my laptop.

So, the Pope is abdicating.

I heard this news very early in the morning the day it broke. Will was dutifully checking Facebook while I made Philomena’s breakfast. It went something like this:

Will: WHAT?!?!

Me: Uh oh, what happened?

Will: (choking up) The Pope resigned!

Me: “What? No he didn’t. It’s bad reporting.”

Turns out, it wasn’t  bad reporting.

Oh, I cried. I deeply love this Pope. I’m a card carrying member of the JPII generation, and I loved him, too. He was the Pope when Iwas baptized and when I came back into the Church. He introduced me to the wonderful world of phenomenology, and to the truth of what the Church actually is.  Thinking about it, he was the Pope of my baby Catholic period-full of enthusiasm but not a lot of sense. i could cheerfully get behind his thought explained to me by others and it was grand and beautiful and made me want to  be Catholic. Benedict XVI is different. He’s the Pope of my agonizingly slow maturation in faith and I feel closer to him.

His writing is so clear! It’s not written in philosopher jargon or theologianese. Spes Salvi completely altered my way of believing because he emphasized the present tense of living in hope. Salvation wasn’t something “out there”. Faith wasn’t another thing you tick off your to do list. It was, instead, a mode of being.  Growing up with a muddled view of these things because of the odd churches we attended, I had a very non-Catholic notion of faith and hope and charity. Papa Benedict fixed all of that.

I  got to see him at my alma mater, The Catholic University of America. It was a beautiful day, six weeks after Philomena’s birth. We were right up by the fencing next to the east entrance of the Shrine. A perfect spot. We saw him go in and we waited around for him to come out again. The excitement you could have cut with a knife. When he came out an got into the big car that wasn’t the Pope mobile, he saw Philomena as I stuck her up in the air, and he smiled and blessed her from the car. Two days later, thanks to the awesomeness of the two gents who designed the altar furnishings, I got to go to his mass at the baseball stadium. I was about six rows back, four rows in back of Placido Domingo.  Again, the joy was simply unbelievable. And the funny thing was, I expected to be a bit star struck during mass and I wasn’t at all. I figured I’d forget all about Jesus in the Eucharist and when the time came for the consecration I was kneeling on the ground and I actually forgot who was celebrating mass.

That is how Pope Benedict does things. He turns your focus back to the Lord.

I’m sad to see him go, but I’m so glad he’s been our Pope. The humility is a different kind of humility from Blessed John Paul, but it’s still humility.  John Paul stayed on, an actor with a beautiful voice, living with that great gift slipping away every day, his movements slowly turning to stone. That takes courage, and humility. And if you know an actor, you know how had that must have been. Benedict, amidst all sorts of misunderstanding about motives and accusations from the faithful about how awful it is to quit the papacy, and from the world about how there must be something wicked going on, steps own from an immensely powerful position because he, one of the most brilliant intellects in the world and certainly one of the holiest souls, thinks the Church will be better served by someone stronger. And if you know a brilliant intellectual, you know how much courage and humility it takes to admit weakness.

We love you, Papa! Viva!




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