Friday, February 22nd, 2013
22 February 2013
The gay lobby story coming out of Rome seemed to be just a little too much to be believed. I was relieved to see John Allen weigh in with some sensible commentary.
If you want to understand why Benedict is tired, in other words, part of it is because he knows that putting things right inside the Vatican will take a tremendous investment of administrative energy, which he doesn’t feel he can supply, and which probably isn’t in his skill set in any event.
No, Benedict didn’t quit under the pressure of a “gay lobby.” But the perceived disarray in the Vatican, which may well be one part perception and one part reality, probably made resignation look even better.
Applying the old philosophical tool seems to fit. The pope is old and tired. He said what he said.
We also know that the upper hierarchy is no more or less virtuous than any other group of human beings. Ordination, elevation, and careerism impart no special quality of holiness. Holiness derives from God’s grace and from human cooperation with God’s call in our lives. That cooperation might be found in the call to ordination and service, especially if that is aligned with the God-given gifts and abilities of the believer. But thwarting God’s call by the human expressions of nepotism, careerism, greed, and other human considerations–this will result in decay of the culture, especially the individuals and groups involved. There’s no getting around that.
I don’t believe you can completely discount the cumulative impact of the various meltdowns over the last eight years on Benedict’s state of mind.
This makes more sense. Pope Benedict was already at the end of a career as a professor, theologian, bishop, and curial bureaucrat in 2005. He likely counted on a united support from his brothers in the episcopacy and especially the curia. It’s rather ironic that he was unsuccessful in achieving unity with schismatics, and continued to take the hard line against bishops like William Morris who were no threat to him or to the Gospel. He let bishops like Robert Finn, Bernard Law, and others continue, despite the scandal of their behavior and the damage done to the preaching of the Gospel.
Above all, we need a pope who can cut through the blind spots of the Roman perspective and reorient the upper hierarchy to the Gospel.
22 February 2013
Posted by catholicsensibility under Rite of Penance
| Tags: Psalm 51
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Sometimes a reading raises questions. These verses of Psalm 51 do for me:
“Against you only have I sinned,
and done what is evil in your sight.”
Indeed, in guilt I was born,
and in sin my mother conceived me;
Behold, you are pleased with sincerity of heart,
and in my inmost being you teach me wisdom.
The Lectionary gives quotes. The NAB version, slightly different, doesn’t.
Psalm 51 may be a lyrical and beautiful expression of contrition, but it is not a perfect confession. David sinned against his general and Bathsheba and his whole army. That’s more than God. Even a king is answerable to and responsible for his people. And we, too, as penitents, are responsible for our offenses.
Verse 7 is an expression of misery. We indeed can feel so steeped in transgression, and so deep into problems of our own making that it seems to stretch back to birth. I think 51:7 is less a confirmation of original sin and more a metaphor for a penitent who feels something bad has lasted so long.
With verse 8, we find a change of tone. There’s hope. We hope we offer a sincere confession. And in turn, we hope God gives us grace. Would I ask for wisdom? I think I would be happy with insight. Maybe that’s the same thing. What do you think?
22 February 2013
Posted by catholicsensibility under bishops
| Tags: bishops
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Here’s a quote of the day from last month, via RNS. Robert Mickens, The Tablet:
It’s not clear that it would make any difference to have a pope with an African or Latin American face if he turned out to be more Roman than Caesar.
The North American and European cardinals talking about going “outside Europe” are crazy like foxes. They know well that a pope from outside Europe will work out about as well (nor not) as the last two choices from outside Italy. I think I’m sticking to my meme of the past decade: a bishop should be chosen from among the priests of the diocese. Perhaps a see as important as Rome might merit someone from the region. But generally, I’d say a bishop in Marquette, Michigan, say, should be chosen from among the clergy of Marquette. A bishop for Portland from the clergy of that Oregon diocese. Selecting a pope, a bishop for Rome, from the ranks of bureaucracy, from another country even, and from anything less than a pastoral and administrative position in working with people makes no sense practically, traditionally, or Scripturally.
At minimum, nobody campaigning for the spot should be considered. That said, I noticed a blog commentator somewhere talking about the “via negativa” factor from embittered cardinals. Maybe those with king-making aspirations will be limited to the role of king-breaker, passing on stories, and urging journalists and even other cardinals to consider supporting doomed candidates.
It’s why I’m praying for the conclave. We need a good pastor. I’m not convinced that another diehard conservative will sway the Barque enough for another Council. But regardless of ideology, we need a good pastor who can pull the plug on the curia.