Saturday, April 19, 2008

The Pope's Visit

I have to admit that I have not been watching much of the mainstream media's coverage of the Pope's visit. Partly, it seemed that the media never understood Pope John Paul II and that Pope Benedict is even harder for them to understand. He is a walking contradiction. He is supposed to be a narrow authoritarian, yet he meets with his philosophical opponents such as Hans Kung. He invites those who threaten him to discuss with reason and respect.

And now he has gone and met with some of the victims of the clerical scandal. Yes it is a symbolic gesture, but considering how much pain the scandal brought us in the American Church, I thought a wonderful and healing gesture. It will take a long time for the pain and wounds to heal. But the Catholic Church has been around for 2000 years -- we can use time to cure ourselves.

The Anchoress of course has the best analysis of the visit.


Rodak said...

Maybe it's just me, but compared to his predecessor this Pope seems to be almost completely devoid of charisma. Nor is he surrounded by that aura of sanctity. I don't think that this road trip will have accomplished much, when all is said and done.

Rodak said...

I watched the ceremony at the seminary in Yonkers this afternoon. And listened to Pope Benedict's address to the "25,000 Youths." My wife's uncle Philip, a priest in the Bronx, attended that seminary. I looked for his face in the crowds, but did not see it.
Overall, the Pope's address had a positive effect on me, but that was mainly because of the crowd reaction, which was moving.
Maybe it's the accent? I close my eyes while listening to him, and I see Sgt. Schultz of "Hogan's Heroes"...

Anthony said...

One thing to remember about Pope Benedict is that he was an academic most of his life. He was briefly a parish priest as a young man, and for as short time he was a bishop. For the rest of his priestly career, he was either a college professor or served the Church in the Vatican in a scholarly role. While he always said Mass, he was not one primarily to deal with normal priestly duties.

This is unlike Pope John Paul II who not only was a priest first and foremost but one serving a captive Church. So he had to have charisma. That is not to say JP II was not a scholarly Pope, he was. But JP II was first and foremost a parish priest.

You can ever see the difference in their writings -- JP II wrote on devotional and practical matters while Benedict writing evidences a deep understanding of history and tradition.

Rodak said...

Well, that's it. Bendict seems more like a college president--i.e. more like a scholarly bureaucrat--than he does like a saint. But I think (as an outside, objective observer) that the American Church badly needs a saint. The Church has become too political, and has accommodated itself too much to the world. It needs a big dose of sacrifice and asceticism.