Pope Benedict

John Paul, rock star, 1979.

Christmastide is over. Still with us, however, is Vatican preoccupation with youth culture and contemporary art. The showcased 2020 Nativity scene generated sneers and Mayday alarms. Demon-spotters went on high alert. Call the exorcist?  By now, temperatures have gone down but the infection remains misdiagnosed. It matters that we get it right. Dislocated indignation distracts from real afflictions. While this arts-and-crafts manger scene would have been unremarkable at Florence’s annual Mostra Internazionale dell’Artigianato, it was a sore thumb in St. Peter’s Square. Continue Reading

Saints . . . reformed the Church in depth, not by working up plans for new structures, but by reforming themselves. What the Church needs in order to respond to the needs of man in every age is holiness, not management.
–Joseph Ratzinger Our president has a hashtag; now our pope has one, too. Benedict acquired it just in time to bequeath it to his successor. The next pope will inherit #askpontifex together with an audience already bundled and delivered. Is that not cool? Continue Reading
Humilitas Est Veritas

The reign of Pope Benedict VI comes to a close at the end of this month. It is not sufficient to say that this morning’s news of the pope’s resignation came as shock. For an instant, the world seemed to have spun off its axis. Perhaps the most stunning thing about it is the humility implicit in Benedict’s renunciation of his Petrine ministry. He resigns in recognition of his decreasing ability to fulfill the demands of office. So doing, he upholds the truth of his own condition. Continue Reading