Monday, September 20, 2010

What a Pope!

Authority is always much scarier in concept than in reality. Especially when there are people trying to stir up fear and imagining the worst. When you meet the person in question the fears can disappear. This is what happened for many people in England these last few days. They met Pope Benedict and saw he is much more of a spiritual father than a moral dictator. This is the way God leads us. This is how church leadership should feel as well.

Fathers are gentle. The pope did not get into the name calling action that so many in England were lowering themselves to. He definitely came across as the mature one in this debate. He patiently and gently explained that it is secular opinion leaders that are trying to bully people of faith off the public stage. That the church has tried to shut nobody up. That it has just been pointing back to the principles of human dignity that people say they accept.

Fathers have long memories. Pope Benedict repeatedly recalled the past. Newman's life for sure. But also St Thomas More and other English martyrs. Then he recalled that the current consensus on morality, to the degree there is one, flowed from a Christian world and life view. These are all things English society has forgotten.

Fathers encourage. If you read the pope's message to youth. His message to educators. His message to the bishops, to societies leaders, to leaders of other faiths. One thing you notice is how encouraging he was. He pointed out good things that have happened and challenged people to do better. You get the feeling he has not given up on England. He really believes radical secularism can be defeated.It comes from faith in Jesus.

I had high hopes for this trip and they seems like they have been realized. I still have high hopes for England.There are some really intense spiritual battles going on there. Highlighting Newman is an awesome move.

Pope Benedict also made 2 requests of the English bishops before he left. First of all, he asked they implement the new mass translations and rise to the challenge of teaching it well. Also, to take the opportunity to teach the entire Catholic faith while explaining the liturgical texts. Secondly he asked them to be very generous with the new arrangements for accepting Anglican converts. My guess is Rome will be watching closely how the bishops do with these 2 requests. Fathers so take children to the woodshed once in a while. Public trips are not the time to do that but the hint is there.

1 comment:

  1. Very nicely explained. I had not been following the trip although I was aware of it, so thanks. Very encouraging.