Saturday, April 19, 2008

Here we go again

I have been sick for the past 4 days, and so it has given me time to reflect on the Pope's visit a bit more then I probably would have been able to if I was well (heck, I would have been able to see almost none of it if I was well!).

1. Media

I wish the media would listen. I was watching CTV Newsnet this evening, and most of it was ok. I am getting a bit frustrated because it seems all the news bites focus just on the Pope's address of the priest sexual abuse. I have seen very little coverage of his UN speech, which was a cornerstone of his visit and his hope for engaging the world in terms of relativism and natural law. Plus, I was rather saddened by the fact that the media TOTALLY mishears things, or hears things that as they want to hear them. At the end of the story on the Pope's events for the day, the reporter mentioned how "Benedict even abandoned God in his youth in Germany". I would like to know what speech they were listening to. He was warning against societies that lose their ability to recognize the place of God in their lives and how the Nazis in Germany abandoned God when he was young, but not him. I am a bit perplexed about that to say the least.

However, from what I have heard (and from the bit I have been able to see from their website), CNN has been giving fantastic coverage of the event. I saw a 5 minute spot about Wolf Blitzer meeting the Pope with 9 other journalists. He looked absolutely giddy. He even said on the air "I almost never say this, but I was truly blessed today". Apparently the Baptist man who works for CNN was also quite moved by the Mass on Thursday.

So, there have been the ups and downs.

2. Politicization

It is typical of people wanting to put things in a box. Unfortunately, too, they are attempting to create a certain polarization. These are unfortunate. You can't really "box up" Benedict, except to say he is orthodox. Most news stories and such are attempting to show that "if the Church doesn't change her teachings, then she will lose her numbers". But that is not the message of the Church, which states that "if the people in the Church don't strive for holiness, then the Church will lose her numbers". But numbers aren't what it is about. Of course, it would be wonderful if the entire world accepted the Church, her teachings, and strived for holiness. But that's not reality. The Church's mission is to bring people to Christ, and that they live lives in pursuit of His Face.

This politicization and polarization come from the labels "conservative", "progressive", "moderate", and "liberal". First, these words refer to terms that change. That is, the terms they point to change according to the trends. For example, the "conservatives" used to be the "liberals". And people use these words for the Church in the same way. And some say that the Pope is "conserving the Deposit of Faith" and so, in that sense, is a conservative.

However, I still don't think that that is a viable label for the Pope. To conserve means to prevent a danger from happening to something, and that it can change. We don't conserve things that don't change. But both those situations are contrary to the very essence of the Church. The Church does not change, and Christ promised that the gates of Hell shall not prevail. There is nothing to conserve, because the Church's essence, by her essence, cannot change. Thus, no one can be a conservative, because there is nothing to conserve, there is only a Truth, Who is a Person, to be uplifted and brought to everyone.

And some may complain about the word "orthodoxy". It is true, it refers to right belief. But Chesterton says that orthodoxy in the Catholic view involves the entirety of our faith. As St James says "Faith without works is dead". Thus our belief, if it is right (and that is that it our faith is in the Person of Jesus Christ) means we truly live it out. Orthodoxy, then, is much more then the doctrines we hold.

3. The Pope

I was blown away by the Pope's time at Dunwoody today. First, I must say, a friend of mine who lives in New York served the Papal Mass today at St Patrick's Cathedral, he was the one holding the Missal for the Pope.

Anyways, the Pope at the Seminary, I saw there the Benedict that I know. This is not to say I haven't elsewhere. But he has seemed tired and a bit worn out these past few days, and that is to be expected of someone of 81! But today, at Dunwoody, he was electric! He was energetic, with a smile that was constantly beaming across face. He was funny, and he even did something unscripted. He was passionate, because I think for him the youth are the hope of the Church's future. He saw true hope present. He definitely fed off the crowd, and he gave a 45 minute talk to the youth! That is far longer then any other talk he has given, which tells you that this was the most important to him. I encourage EVERYONE to read it, or go to EWTN's website and watch it there (they have the whole of the Pope's trip on the web to watch). It was fantastic and out of this world. Please watch it.


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