Modest Is As Modest Does

Pope Benedict biographer David Gibson considers that B16 could have done better with Jewish leaders in Rome today. Good commentariat discussion there, including a thought that the pope refrains from strong language because he defers to Scripture in a way that is modest and fitting. Yet Jimmy Mac references the picture up at the Loggia, and while yes, I know this is more about the office of the pope and the man in it, it does seem a bit incongruous to chalk it up to modesty.

Let our friend and frequent commentarian weigh in:

In this particular case, and at this particular time, just think of how more effective this COULD have come across if B16 WASN’T sitting on a throne at a level above and distant from these rabbis?

Could he not have been seated, either at a table with them around him, or, even better, in a small, informal chatting environment?

I doubt that His Elevated Self impressed these guys with his distancing and elevation.

When will these guys learn ?!?!?!?


As for the thought that some Catholics are getting tired about all this disgust at SSPX, the curia, and the pope, let’s offer some perspective. Many of us critics are within the Church, expressing our own outrage, and are we expected to hold out tongues and pens on it? Don’t think so.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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5 Responses to Modest Is As Modest Does

  1. John Heavrin says:

    “…I doubt that His Elevated Self impressed these guys with his distancing and elevation…”

    And I very much doubt if he intended to.

    I found the Holy Father’s remarks to be profound and touching, and I hope those assembled, and all those of good will, did as well.

    Here’s hoping for a full and quick reintegration of the SSPX into the heart of the Church, and the concomitant, long-overdue clarification and critique, at the highest levels, of Vatican II and its effect on the Church and its place in the history of the Church.

    It was just one of many councils in the history of the Church, after all, not a third Testament.

  2. Deacon Eric says:

    I thought the exact same thing when I saw the photo at Whispers. The pope, disengaged, sitting on a throne and reading from a paper. When he finishes there is perfunctory applause. He greets some people, offers niceties and departs.

    Lifeless. Official. Imperial. So unlike the faith that has given us life.

  3. Liam says:

    Well, you see, any condemnation – which is what this audience came hoping for – coming from the throne is going to be stronger than in a kaffeeklatsch. Also, recall that this room is far more intimate than the other state rooms often used for receptions (though I suspect that’s more a function of the non-state status of the guests here).

    Thus, it would seem the best approach would be both. Do we know for certain there was not an informal portion of this meeting (the Pope alludes to providing reciprocal hospitality in his own home), which naturally would *not* be covered by the press? If not, let’s not presume.

    I do think Gibson’s expectations about the purpose of these remarks are somewhat wide of the mark. He seems to expect Benedict to have undertaken a Josephine-specific version of his predecessor’s apologies to the Jewish people. I don’t think that would have had the effect he appears to imagine it would.

  4. Tony says:

    Somehow I don’t think these criticisms would have been voiced had it been “Pope Kumbaya I”, formerly Cardinal Mahony. :P

  5. Todd says:

    “Somehow I don’t think these criticisms would have been voiced …”

    Oh no. If anything it would have been more vociferous had it been coming from me. No fan of Cardinal Mahony here.

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