This story rather confirms that maybe VNO #2 is a better choice for observing a pope’s anniversary than a controversial situation that attaches a letter to a book. Speaking as a composer, I hope I’m dead before my protégés decide to have some concert or recording or YouTube thingie with covers of my liturgical songs.
Anyway, it was hard to determine where to go to get the straight scoop on the blurring of Pope Benedict’s letter in which he expressed doubt about one of the contributors to a tome on Pope Francis’ theology. A simple google search gave me links to everything from the two NCR’s to the Eponymous Flower and beyond. I saw adjectives like “evil” being tossed about. Probably not worth following that rabbit down the hole.
All I can say is that the whole episode seems more clumsy than evil. Blurring parts of a letter. Asking an outspoken pope to write such a letter. Assembling a book about a pope’s theology. I confess I see Peter as more of a pastor than a theologian. Some popes happened to have been theologians in their former stages of professional life.
The whole deal seems to be part of some plan to reassure people there’s some kind of continuity between the last two popes. Supporters and detractors of Pope Francis are capable of making their own judgments, I’m sure. It seems to me things are mostly the same. Both Catholic white men. Non-Italians. Teachers. Bishops. You know: continuity is not always a good thing. Banging your head against a wall, for example: maybe that’s a good way to break it down. But on the third or fourth try, it’s time for a rupture. Either the skull or the method of deconstruction. I happen to think that discontinuity is a sign of a healthy spiritual life: sin and bad habits get left behind.
So some on the Catholic Right are dismayed, crying foul, and wringing their hands that the Church is going to hell in a handbasket. Come to think of it, some minorities of Catholics have been thinking this for many decades now. I think it’s part of what it means to emerge from a major council.
Speaking of VNO #2, anybody celebrate or hear of a Mass for Pope Francis’ anniversary? Or did we all head to the printery or to the blogs to mark five years?
Nothing special re the papal anniversary, but this morning I witnessed a local Jesuit do something I’ve yet to see another priest do since the new Missal arrived in Advent 2011: Before the final blessing, he offered today’s Prayer Over The People, which is an option for Masses in Lent. The prayers are often lovely and freer from the Latinate gobble of the collects. Why they’ve been neglected is beyond me.