Sunday, February 17, 2008

Father knows best

So, how 'bout that Pope?

Pope Benedict XVI never ceases to amaze me. His selection from among the other Cardinals started it. He was so OLD!

He was already known, too, as something of a hard-liner as far as adherence to Catholic teaching went. I counted that as a good thing.

He has not disappointed. He may have a short pontificate, but his influence will resound for a long time. Of this I have little doubt. He predicted that his pontificate would see the reduction of the Catholic Church to a smaller institution, but one less swayed by the winds of public opinion. One can only hope that is prophetic.

As it is now, there are so many who call themselves Catholic, but who hold few of the tenets of the Church and seem hell-bent on changing the Church to suit their notions. Protestants may goad us about Sacred Tradition, in which they say they do not believe. It would seem a good many Catholics do not believe in it either.

Having a Church in which fewer of these dissenters are present could only be a good thing.

Pope Benedict, it seems to me, is making it more and more difficult to be a dissenting Catholic. His clarifications on our beliefs only reiterate Church teaching. His refusal to pander to public opinion will, I think, give confidence to loyal Catholics.

He has been accused of public relations mis-steps. I do not think these were mis-steps at all. I think he knew exactly what he was saying, why he was saying it, and what the reaction to it would be. He is proclaiming Truth. He is saying what the Church believes on his own terms and not the terms of those who do not agree with the Church anyway. Imagine that.

I remember the day I accidently walked in on a pow-wow (sorry. I guess the proper term might be an O-group) of chaplains, both RC and others. I could feel tremendous tension in the room, although I did not actually hear anything that was being said. This was after the Pope told the denominations that they were not churches, but "ecclesial communities". As I spoke to one of the RC chaplains later he said to me "The truth hurts". The truth is this: Jesus formed only one Church, and that one is the Catholic Church. To believe anything else is to revise or ignore history.

He upset the Muslims with his Regensberg address, in which he quoted an earlier scholar who said something to the effect that Mohammed's additions to the faith of Abraham (which is shared by Jews, Christians and Muslims) were evil and violent.

In his writing, Benedict has very clearly taken issue with trends in liturgy, which he sees as novelties, and trends in theology which seem to try to remove Christ's divinity.

What he says is very clear. It's hard to read anything into his writings...nothing is hidden.

This Catholic feels very comfortable with Benedict as Pope. Long may he live!